Having made the effort to get up before 6 I am glad to say that today's ringing session was a special one. We met before 6.30 and travelled to a new site (to me) in East Devon . Birds were few and far between in the nets due to slightly windy conditions and only 5 in total were caught. but two were very special. 2 Wren, 1 Dunnock, a lovely Marsh Tit and a Garden Warbler which was very interesting to say the least. Garden Warbler are very closely related to Blackcaps and I was very interested to get the chance to examine one in the hand. As Warblers go this is a big species not a lot smaller than a Dunnock for example and significantly larger and more bulky than a Willow Warbler. They are said to be "featureless" when seen in the field, with no wing bar or eye stripe nor white in the tail, in fact it is said that this lack of diagnostic features is in it's self a feature. First impressions led me to be surprised by the size and then a white belly as well as a faint eye ring.
Regardless of the small amount of birds the quality made up for it and I was very impressed to be able to see both these two species so closely. The two Wrens were almost forgotten even though they are such gorgeous little birds and in the hand equally as interesting as they are in the field. One was a juvenile and the other an adult. I am not surprised that we caught a couple because they were singing constantly with lots of individual territories identified..... too many to count really. If you are interested in identifying Marsh Tit in the hand here is a nice close-up of the underside of the tail which is crucial apparently.