A Brilliant Bird Ringing Session!

Yesterday I went bird ringing at Cissbury Ring in Findon, West Sussex. I was quite interested to see what we were going to catch as I haven't been ringing at Cissbury for over a month.

And I wasn't disappointed! Getting there at 6:45, the nets were put up and there were already a lot of birds that had been caught. The first bird that I ringed was a Sedge Warbler, a ringing tick for me which was not bad start to the morning!

Sedge Warbler
Throughout the morning I extracted my first Bullfinch which was a juvenile. I also a ringed a lot of Willow Warbler which were passing through the ringing site, as well as a lots of Blackcap. Other birds that I ringed were Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Long-Tailed Tit.

Juvenile Bullfinch
Towards the end of the session, the penultimate net round, the other two ringers where checking one half of the nets whilst my trainer and I checked the the other half. After checking them, one of the ringers came over to us saying they needed a bigger bag because a Kestrel was in the net, a male in fact! This was only the 8th Kestrel for the site! We got back to the ringing table and I ringed a few more Willow Warblers and one young Chiffchaff before Mark, one of the other ringers started ringing the Kestrel. It was really interesting to see it being ringed and processed still in the bag, as I had never seen a wild bird of prey in the hand before. The reason why Kestrels are ringed and processed in the bag is because of their extremely sharp talons, with which they kill their prey with and therefore why you wouldn't want to get too near to them! This male adult Kestrel was in moult, which you could see by the contrast between the new primaries and the old bleached ones.

Kestrel

Kestrel close-up
An added bonus was a Marsh Tit which was also caught, this was a ringing tick for me. Firstly we had to make sure it was Marsh Tit not a Willow Tit. We could tell it was a Marsh Tit because of its wing length.

Marsh Tit (it was a bit windy!)
So all in all it was brilliant session!

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