Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Number 1 and Number 60

Can you guess my mystery bird?

Oh OK, it wasn't really that difficult...

I don't do a lot of running... but when I saw this big brown thing in the net ahead of me, I ran as fast as I could (luckily it wasn't that far). This Woodcock was the first bird I extracted and ringed this year. What a way to start! If things carry on like this I'll be very happy.

I remembered seeing one ringed before but I didn't think I'd ringed it. Well, actually, the blog says that I did, so I suppose I must have! Either way, it's become number 60 on my list of birds-that-I-have ringed. 

This Woodcock was an adult. You look at the tips of the primary coverts (check out Javier Blasco-Zumeta's PDF) - if they're pale, it's an adult; if they're the same chestnut-brown as the other bits of the feather, it hatched in the previous spring. You can't really see them in these photos, but look, here's one I made earlier

Or, if you prefer, have a look at Peregrine's amazing photos of flying Woodcock.  This one's an adult, and this one's a youngster.

photos taken with iPhone


  1. Lucky you. Thanks for linking my photos. I am reading Woodcock fieldcraft and Quarry by Prof Colin Trotman at present. Not that I shoot any more I used to before I saw sense :-) he has interesting bits about ageing the birds.

    There is some ringing of Woodcock at the moment in Co.Donegal they go out on misty nights with a bright torch and a salmon landing net. strangely they found that after this spell of cold weather that the birds caught were the heaviest they had ever caught which is surprising.

    I photographed the birds at Killard Nature Reserve in Co.Down my local patch. Generally there are rarely any woodcock there but in this recent extended cold snap the woodcock seemed to make their way to the coast. My highest count was 72 on Christmas day. Yesterday there were none.

  2. That is amazing Katie - great start.
    I think I have only ever seen two and they were fleeting glimpses.