Following the age and sex analysis (or ‘speculation’ may now be a more apt term) of last week’s Newnham Hill Ring Ouzels, I received some excellent images from Bob Bullock of one of the two females. This was the first of the two to be found, on 29th April – the one without the heavily-marked throat.
Although photos can be deceptive, the first of the three images, below, depicts a dark-looking individual, which appears to show a moult limit in the greater coverts of the left wing, i.e. the outer coverts have broad pale (juvenile) edges and the inners appear to be new, adult-type feathers. Ageing from this image in isolation would put the bird into the first-summer court. The general darkness of the plumage and the relative prominence of the whitish bib, ending in a point at the sides, would suggest a male.
However, the second image, of the other side of the bird, appears to show some uniformity across the greater coverts, the bird appears slightly browner and this would point to adult female – so that’s a puzzle.
Head-on, the third image highlights the bib, which is really rather dull and contains plenty of dark scales – probably more than would be expected in a first-summer male. So, still likely to be a female, then and probably adult as the bib looks to be adult in its extent and prominence.
Tricky stuff – comments welcomed! Many thanks to Bob for his fine images.