Never keep calm

7 01 2013

“Caress the detail, the divine detail.”

– Vladimir Nabokob

I am fed up with this stupid old slogan which is suspiciously popular those tumultuous days. Keep thinking instead of keep calm, and you would see how things get progressively better. This is not the best season for a birder in Catalonia but I try to alternate my self-pity with an incessant birding activity. If there’s nothing in the field, there are always some articles to read and sometimes it’s possible to check in the field the information read in the paper. I had read the post on Stephen Menzie’s blog the day after I went to Montserrat mountain, so I already had in mind the idea of looking at the age of the alpine accentores that I expected to see up in Sant Jeroni.

Prunella collaris 2

Prunella collaris 5

Prunella collaris

Prunella collaris 3

There were at least 6 of them feeding on crumbs around tourists, very approachable as always, what permits a good examintion of the plumage. Both Stephen and an article published in the Revista de Anillamiento (Spanish ringing journal) (Fernández Gil et al. 2007)  looked at the pattern of both the primary and the greater coverts to determine the age. The white in the tip has a different shape and color depending on the age, whereas the center of the feather is black in adults and greyish-brown in 1st winters. There’s no need to catch the birds since they are even too close to take a picture!
Ad 1st W

To judge a ringing day, there is an equilibrium between the number of captures and the free time you get bored. Too many birds means you don’t have time enough to study them properly but too few means you are mentally sleeping all the day long. The winter here is actually boring, but that brings me the chance to study birds in detail.

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