Ringers are well aware that unusual bird movements or bird moult can hint at something yet to be discovered. While ringing in his Nottinghamshire garden Adrian Blackburn has caught over 700 Swallows this year, with most of them being juveniles but with some adults also. One of these was wearing a Spanish ring but more interestingly one bird seemed to be both adult and juvenile at first glance.
Unfortunately this Swallow was unringed (so origin unknown) but the most remarkable thing about this bird is that it was a juvenile that was going through its main moult into adult plumage, and replacing its wing feathers! British Swallows normally do this in Africa so a bird moulting in Nottinghamshire is was very unusual. The 'old' juvenile wing and tail feathers were much browner compared to the new growing feathers and this hints that this bird has been in a sunny location so unlikely to be in Nottinghamshire.
|Swallow with older brown feathers and new blue feathers|
Could this bird have hatched in Iberia and moved North to the UK instead of South to Africa (similar to reverse migration) or did this bird hatch in the far North and started moult before reaching its wintering grounds? Hopefully this bird will be captured again by a ringer further on in its journey and start to answer some of these questions.
|Swallow tails with older feathers but replaced blue rump feathers|
Thanks to Adrian Blackburn for letting us know and for the photos.