Sunday, 1 January 2012

**UPDATED** Outing report- 16th December 2011 Bird ringing at Umzumbe floodplain

Text and photos by Andy Ruffle

Only Liz and I braved the very early start this morning, but we were handsomely rewarded.
Andrew had said he thought the warblers were back and he certainly wasn't wrong.
No less than six species of warbler were netted, with two very interesting specimens- European Sedge Warbler and Garden Warbler, neither of which have been recorded in the pentad previously.
Warblers recorded in the pentad are (those ringed today highlighted red):- African Reed-, Dark-capped Yellow, Barrett's Great Reed-, Lesser Swamp, Little Rush-, (European) Marsh, Yellow-throated Woodland-,

Great Reed-Warbler- [non-breeding Migrant] Immediately identified by it's size, being about the same size as a Terrestrial Brownbul. The tail (see photo below) is also very distinctive.

Great Reed-Warbler (Adult)

Great Reed-Warbler (Adult)

Great Reed-Warbler (Juvenile)
Looking very shabby. Note the gape.

(European) Sedge Warbler- [non-breeding Migrant] Identified by it's boldy streaked crown (no other warblers in our region have this) and broad cream eye-stripe.

(European) Sedge Warbler

African Reed-Warbler (African Marsh Warbler)- [Intra-African breeding Migrant] Identified by it's size and buffy underparts. Inspection of the wing shape confirms this is not a long distance migrant (see photo below). Field identification extremely difficult.

African Reed-Warbler (African Marsh Warbler)

Lesser Swamp-Warbler (Cape Reed-)- [Resident] Identified by it's dark brown upperparts and white underparts

Lesser Swamp Warbler (Cape Reed-)

Garden Warbler- [non-breeding Migrant] Identified by it's brownish-grey upperparts and shortish bill. This bird did have us confused for a while, but the mass, wing, tail and bill measurements confirmed the id, as did the pink colour inside the mouth (other warblers have orange inside the mouth).

Garden Warbler

Garden Warbler-with squared off tail

Little Rush-Warbler (African Sedge)- [Resident] Identified by it's dark upperparts and broad un-barred tail (which seperates it from Broad-tailed Warbler).

Little Rush-Warbler (African Sedge)

Little Rush-Warbler (African Sedge)

Wing of African Reed-Warbler
Note the way the wing curves in at the end indicating
this is a resident or short distance Migrant. Long distance
Migrant's wings are longer and tend to be more pointed
(red shaded area)

And some others ringed today.

Spectacled Weaver (Immature)
Note the spectacle just starting to appear.
You'd be lucky to pick this up in the field.

Thick-billed Weaver.
We all see the white flash in the wing when it's flying.
This is what it looks like up close.

Malachite Kingfisher (Juvenile) - note black beak
Now have you ever seen this before??
Crazy hair do!!!

Malachite Kingfisher (Juvenile)
Just look at those colours!!!

And the ringing tally for the morning

Malachite Kingfisher x 1, Dark-capped Bulbul x 1, Garden Warbler x 1, Great Reed-Warbler x 3, African Reed-Warbler x 3, Lesser Swamp- (Cape Reed-) Warbler x 2, European Sedge Warbler x 1, Rufous-Winged Cisticola x 3, Spectacled Weaver x 2, Yellow Weaver x 8 (one ringed by Andy who has the scar to prove it), Thick-billed Weaver x 1, Red Bishop x 1, Fan-tailed Widow x 3, Common Waxbill x 2. (Total 32)

Recaptures: Yellow Weaver x 1, Little Rush- (African Sedge) Warbler x 1.
UPDATE The Little Rush Warbler that we caught was ringed at the same location on 4th December 2004. 7yrs 8days previously.
References: Roberts Online

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful bag of warblers... thanks for showing us the difference so well. I love ringing Malachite Kingfishers, just because of the punk hairdo! And also the way they move their neck almost 380degs between your fingers.... such gems.