Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yet more bird ringing!

Thursday (27th) morning, up early to pack for yet another weekend at the ringing station on Comino. Finished from university at 15:00, a mad cycle home, quick shower, more than heavy rucksack full of food on back and off to catch the bus. 4:45 the ferry would leave, I arrived on the jetty just in time! I had made it and had three days of birding and ringing on paradise island!
Friday, mostly Robins (62) ringed but some other species to add a bit of variety. Got to ring my first Blue Rock Thrush, a beautiful 1st year male, and Black Redstart. A few Stonechats, Song thrush, a Spectacled warbler and a Skylark were also ringed. Of the latter there was a quite a passage but flocks kept their height, over 400 were counted. Not in the hand but still nice to see was the first Golden Plover of the season, a Peregrine falcon, a late Honey Buzzard and we flushed a Nightjar.
Malta's national bird; Blue Rock Thrush

Saturday - great day, with continuous passage of Robins, 166 ringed in all! Furthermore 18 Stonechats, 12 Song thrush, a Blackbird, 7 Chiffchaff, a Firecrest and a Chaffinch were ringed. I got to ring my first Dunnock and the only one of the day. A Reed bunting and a Red-throated Pipit were year ticks bringing it up to 168! Finally a Stone curlew at dusk.

Firecrest - one of the smallest birds in Europe only weighing 5.5g!

Sunday - Rather strong South easterly wind but still birds about. Unfortunately we had to put down the nets during the day as the ringer coming up couldn't make it, so the scheme had to continue later int he week. Second Blackbird of the weekend, a first year male, was one of the highlights for me at least, getting to ring it myself. Otherwise it was mostly Robins, 90, with only 2 Stonechat and one Song thrush. 13 Chiffchaff plus a late Willow warbler, a Meadow Pipit, another 3 Dunnocks, Chaffinch and a Firecrest. A Kestrel and Corn Bunting flew by as we left the station, walked to the ferry thinking it was 5 months till the spring ringing scheme and what
a long time that seemed!
Blackbird ringed on the 30th October
After two days of boring lectures, some more time for ringing, at Simar this time. Not that many birds but ringed my first Reed Bunting which was great as well as a Cetti's Warbler. A few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Robins of course. A Blackcap form the 21st October was recaught, and had put on 8g of weight feeding on olives and other berries! A female Shoveler was seen, three Little Grebes fishing below the hide, a Snipe and a few Water Rail.


  1. Hi Martin, i see your enjoying some ringing as well as birding, Great blog and good pictures, Kevin

  2. Hi Kevin,
    Thanks once again! Ringed 2 Moustached warblers, and 2 Reed Buntings, a Wryneck and a late Willow Warbler today but more about that later!
    Cheers, martin