Tuesday 1 August 2023

July - Redwing surprises us all

July is the month for peak fledglings. Bedfont had its Reed Warbler young and the Black-headed Gull pulli not ringed in June. Families of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits moved into the site and young Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler, Garden Warbler, Robin, Treecreeper and Wren were also ringed.

Wraysbury also ringed young warblers, its habitat attracting good numbers of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. Other young ringed included Cetti's Warbler, Garden Warbler, Goldcrest, Reed Warbler, Robin and Wren.

The team at Wraysbury were most surprised to catch a winter migrant - a Redwing of all things. Typically these birds overwinter with us returning to their northern breeding grounds before Spring. But here we had an adult bird, in good condition, on 9th July. 

 The bird was moulting its primary feathers, had some bareness on its lower belly. Wing coverts suggested it might be aged five though its tertials had no hint of pale wedges, perhaps having worned down. The bird looked and behaved fit and healthy though its feathers were, in general, in a worn condition.
Redwing, England, July 2023

We can age this bird code 5 with its 5 old greater coverts and one old (outer) primary coverty (two on the left wing). Its 1st-5th primary feathers are new, its 6th growing and its 7-10th are old, still to be replaced. This is not a typical moult pattern; one wouldn't expect just the 6th to be growing, but then this bird is far from typical.

From the fieldsheet: Sexing Method E cloacal examination: shaped like a female's and pointed tailwards and the area was bare. There was no "dip" but there wasn't a Brood Patch either.

This wasn't Wraysbury first summering Redwing - there was another on 26 June 2004. That individual had one short wing perhaps explaining why it had stayed in the UK. This year's bird had wings of the same length (within 1mm).

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