However, February is typically the start of Shelduck ringing in the valley, and with Shelduck numbers starting to increase and now beginning to use some of the trapping areas it’s looking promising. Today saw the best catch of the year so far for the species with 9 new birds and four re-traps. It’s always nice to catch a mix of new birds and ‘old friends’ so it was really good to see GN81934 (black darvic FL) who was originally ringed in the same spot on 04/02/05, seven years and a week earlier!
The following photos were taken to explain how we’re ageing Shelduck. The bird in the photograph below is a 7 (which means it’s definitely two years old and so it hatched during 2010). Notice the white tips to the secondaries and some of the primaries, but otherwise it’s an adult looking wing. It’s possible that not all birds of this age can be confidently aged to this level.