Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Oxwich Marsh late May 2018: a good end to the month

A couple of decent sessions (for late May) have resulted in a combined total of just short of 150 birds. This is one of our quietest times of the year, as many birds are on territory, spring passage is very hit and miss, and migrants rarely figure prominently in our totals as a result.

The combined tally was as follows:

Species Name
New
Recaptured
Total
Blackbird
2

2
Blackcap
1

1
Blue Tit
1
3
4
Bullfinch
2
2
4
Cetti's Warbler

1
1
Chaffinch
3

3
Dunnock
9
11
20
Goldfinch
4
4
8
Grasshopper Warbler

1
1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
9
10
Great Tit

4
4
Greenfinch
4
3
7
Reed Bunting
2
4
6
Reed Warbler
2
1
3
Robin

1
1
Sedge Warbler
3
5
8
Siskin
16
42
58
Song Thrush

1
1
Willow Warbler

2
2
Wren
2
2
4
Grand Total
52
96
148

The highlights were:
  • The first young blackbirds and chaffinches of the year.
  • Good captures of young siskins. We have captured 182 different siskins to date in 2018, including 34 juveniles.
  • A female grasshopper warbler with a brood patch score of three (engorged / thickened), indicating brooding (and therefore local breeding). The bird was initially trapped and ringed in April, so has been on site for approximately a month.
  • Various male and female great spotted woodpeckers all of which showed brood patches; good numbers of fledged dunnocks; and some between year captures of sedge warblers (including a bird ringed on the Newport Wetlands that has taken up residence on the marsh).
Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Val Wilson, Stephen Vickers, Kirsty Franklin, Jo Conway, Alex McCubbin, Edward O'Connor, Richard Dann, Amy Schwartz, Lara Bates-Prior and Pippa Hardman for company and assistance over the two sessions.

19 May was the last session (at least in the short to medium term) for Kirsty Franklin and Stephen Vickers who are now moving on to spend time on Skomer, in Portugal and then to start PhDs in the University of East Anglia (UEA).  Particular thanks to them for their contributions and commitment to the group since July last year, and we wish them good luck for the future.

Owain Gabb
29/05/2018

One of our juvenile siskins



Sunday, 13 May 2018

Oxwich Marsh 12 May 2018: a first for the year

A good session for the time of year. Typical May sessions at Oxwich see us capture between forty and eighty birds, as most resident species are on territory, and the number of breeding warblers in the reedbed is low.

A cold start, with a light frost on the stiles and ringing poles. There was very little wind all morning, which made for good conditions for ringing. We put up a total of 1,060 feet of net through scrub and reedbed habitats.

The catch broke down as follows:

Species Name
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Blue Tit

3
3
Bullfinch
2

2
Chaffinch
4

4
Dunnock

4
4
Goldfinch
1
1
2
Grasshopper Warbler
1
1
2
Great Spotted Woodpecker

5
5
Great Tit
3
5
8
Greenfinch
2
1
3
Magpie

1
1
Reed Bunting
1
4
5
Reed Warbler
1
2
3
Robin

2
2
Sedge Warbler
7
2
9
Siskin
19
18
37
Whitethroat
2
2
4
Willow Warbler

1
1
Wren

2
2
Grand Total
43
54
97

The highlights were:
  • A magpie, the first since 2016. The bird was a recapture. It had been ringed in October 2013, so was in its sixth calendar year. It was a female with a thickened / engorged brood patch.
  • Two grasshopper warblers. One of these had been initially captured on the marsh in April, and has now developed a cloacal protrusion, suggesting it will breed / is breeding.
  • A reed warbler ringed in September 2014, so in its fifth calendar year, and with four trips to sub-Saharan Africa behind it.
  • A good day total of 37 siskins. These included 20 recently-youngsters, 10 birds fledged in 2017, and seven birds fledged in 2016 or before.
  • Several recaptured reed buntings. These included a bird ringed in 2014 and a second calendar year female with very dark plumage around the head - and therefore reminiscent of a male. Development of male plumage traits is often associated with old female birds, but this bird showed two ages of tail feathers and a moult limit in the tertials, both of which indicated it was in its second calendar year.
  • Two bullfinches, the fourth and fifth of the year. Although captured annually at Oxwich in varying numbers (range 2 (2016) - 19 (2014)), the species is always popular due to its attractive plumage and passivity in the hand.

Thanks to the team of Kirsty Franklin, Stephen Vickers, Joanne Conway, Alex McCubbin, Edward O'Connor and Richard Dann.

Owain Gabb
13/05/2018

Grasshopper warbler

Bullfinch (Richard Dann)

Male and female bullfinches (Richard Dann)

Magpie (ringed in 2013 and recaptured in May 2018) (Richard Dann)

Female reed bunting showing male plumage characteristics (dark face and white collar)

Thursday, 10 May 2018

CES 1 2018 at WWT Wales

We carried out the first Constant Effort Site (CES) session on 3 May. The details are below.  

Among the interesting re-captures were:

  • 2 male Blackcaps, one of which had been ringed in August 2015 and the other in June 2016, both as adults
  • 1 male Great tit which had been ringed in 2014 as a juvenile bird


Species
New
Retrap
Total
Blackcap
5
2
7
Dunnock
2
2
4
Robin
1
3
4
Blackbird
2
1
3
Wren
4
0
4
Chiff chaff
2
0
2
Great tit
1
1
2
Bullfinch
2
1
3
Long tailed tit
3
1
4
Cetti's warbler
1
0
1
Blue tit
1
0
1
Total
24
11
35

Thanks to Paul Aubrey and Valerie Wilson for their help.

Heather Coats