Tengmalm’s Owl Food

Spurn 5 August 2011

Excellent variety today. Started early with a whizz though adult Hobby south at the Warren in blustery WSW and blue skies. Grounded migrants included 1-2 Wheatears, and a couple of Willow Warblers, with small number of Swifts and hirundines heading south. Rael trapped a Treecreeper at Kew – a new bird for me at Spurn. About annual here, though some keen regulars have still not seen one. This one was a juvenile, and I labelled up, as a reminder, a couple of things to look for if I see a silent Treecreeper here in October – more likely to a be a ‘Northern Treecreeper’ or outside chance of Short-toed Treecreeper. Even though its scarce to rare here, Treecreeper wing feathers were found in a the pellet for one of Spurn most famous birds: the Tengmalm’s Owl of March 1983!

juvenile Treecreeper, Kew, 5th August 2011. Many Short-toeds have an obvious pale fringe along outer edge of the largest alula, joined to the large pale tip, and have an obviously smaller pale mark which may even be lacking on P4. There’s lots of other little differences which are tricky and hard to remember!

Mid morning at the Warren brought 2 southbound juvenile Marsh Harriers, 2 fly-through Green Sandpipers and some 1,600 Swallows in ‘pulses’. On the dropping tide I picked out this (photo above) striking looking juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. It had already renewed a number of upper scapulars.

Chalk bank at high tide brought some 10,000 Knot and good variety of other shorebird. Several Knot and a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits had coloured rings. It was fascinating to come across an adult Knot- yellow flagged HHT pictured below. I saw this one late last August and there is a photo of him (or her) on the blog from last year here. There is an amazing story of wader migration, worth reading there too.

Later on in afternoon found  7 Mediterranean Gulls including 3 stunning juveniles, and an arrival of Marmalade Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus and Painted Lady Butterflies. The juv Med Gulls were feeding on the Marmalade Flies as they arrived after a North Sea crossing. Shame!

HHK- nice to see this one returning. Adds that sense of rhythm to the birding year. See a photo of the same bird, in more advanced moult from august 2010.

Anyone know what story the colour rings on this Bar-tailed Godwit tell?

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Gulls, Shorebirds, Treecreeper. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tengmalm’s Owl Food

  1. David Williams says:

    Hi Martin, Bar-tails colour rings would appear to be Dutch – this from http://www.cr-birding.be/

    Combination of 4 rings and a yellow or red flag.

    Bernard Spaans, Department of Marine Ecology and Evolution, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
    PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands.
    tel.: +(31)(0)222 369490 ; fax: +(31)(0)222 319674

    e-mail : shorebirds ADD nioz.nl

    note 1: used colours are white, red, yellow and blue.

    note 2: there are always 2 rings on each tarsus and the position of the yellow flag is important and it can be on the left or right tibia or on the left or right tarsus, above, in between or below the 2 rings.

    note 3: the metal ring is always on the tibia, but this ring is not part of the cr-combination.

    note 4: this NIOZ-project is in cooperation with VRS Castricum, VRS Franeker and VRS Calidris. Until December 2008, 2766 birds were ringed, including 246 in Mauritania.

    More information on the internet: http://www.nioz.nl, go via Research, Scientific departments, Marine Ecology to Colour-rings.

  2. several birds seem to be taking advantage of the hoverflieshttp://pewit.blogspot.com/2011/08/little-egret-opportunist.html

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