Monday, 20 November 2017

Oxwich Marsh early November 2017

Unsettled weather has dominated November to date, and looks set to continue. We missed three consecutive weekends of ringing due to wind and / or rain, and only managed sessions during weather windows on 3, 13 and 19 of the month.

Combined totals for 3-19 November are:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Snipe
13
0
13
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
4
5
Wren
1
5
6
Dunnock
1
7
8
Robin
0
7
7
Blackbird
2
1
3
Song Thrush
0
2
2
Redwing
39
0
39
Cetti's Warbler
4
5
9
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Goldcrest
6
0
6
Firecrest
1
0
1
Long-tailed Tit
4
0
4
Blue Tit
62
91
153
Great Tit
3
28
31
Treecreeper
0
1
1
Chaffinch
23
3
26
Brambling
2
0
2
Greenfinch
0
1
1
Goldfinch
8
1
9
Lesser Redpoll
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
4
0
4
Total:
180
156
336

Highlights have been as follows:
  • Good numbers of snipe, including 10 on 19 November. We have now captured 48 unique birds this year, and 82 snipe to date at the site. Ageing remains a dark art; a proportion of first winter birds can be aged as such (due to moult limits), but post juvenile moult can involve most of the feather tracts on which ageing is based, and many are indeterminate. We have still not controlled a snipe or recaptured an Oxwich-ringed bird between winters. This suggests the reference population is very large and/or birds are not returning to the same area between winters. Given the numbers present on the marsh during the mid-winter period, the former certainly seems correct. 
  • Thirty-nine redwings, taking our total to 92 for the year. Despite birds being heard over the marsh on 19 November (pre-dawn), they did not come in to a tape. Ninety of the total were captured between 25 October and 3 November inclusive.
  • A good late run of Cetti's warblers. We have recently heard that one of our September 2017 birds was controlled at Morfa Berwig (Carmarthenshire); see Paul Aubrey's blog. The two locations are only approximately 12 km apart, but separated by open moorland around Cefn Bryn and an estuary (the Burry Inlet). This therefore appears to be a deliberate dispersive movement.
  • A firecrest. A first calendar year male on 19 November. This is the latest date (by three days) on which we we have caught the species. Despite reports of record totals on the south coast, it had been looking like the first year in which we failed to capture the species.
  • A notable 153 blue tits. Good birds for extraction practice if not for mental well being. These included individuals ringed in 2013 and 2014, but also large numbers of first calendar year birds, indicating a far more productive year than 2016.
  • A few nice finches. Two lesser redpoll on 3 November, and two brambling (a first year male with several retained greater coverts and a worn pointed tail, and an adult female) on 19 November were all very nice additions to the site year totals. Otherwise finch numbers have been modest of late.
Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Paul Aubrey, Val Wilson, Sarah Davies, Stephen Vickers, Kirsty Franklin, Jo Conway, Alex McCubbin, Martin Thomas, Sophie de Grissac, Edward O'Connor and Ellie Huckle for company and assistance during recent sessions.

Photographs are below.

Owain Gabb
20/11/2017

First winter male brambling (Wayne Morris)

Firecrest (Stephen Vickers)


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Oxwich Marsh Late October 2017

A steady second half of the month. Sessions were fitted in around the weather.

Totals are shown in the table below:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Snipe
6
0
6
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
5
6
Meadow Pipit
2
0
2
Wren
10
6
16
Dunnock
2
10
12
Robin
7
7
14
Stonechat
3
0
3
Blackbird
9
2
11
Song Thrush
3
1
4
Redwing
53
0
53
Cetti's Warbler
5
5
10
Blackcap
3
0
3
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Goldcrest
50
1
51
Long-tailed Tit
1
2
3
Coal Tit
1
0
1
Blue Tit
74
38
112
Great Tit
11
12
23
Starling
2
0
2
Chaffinch
7
0
7
Greenfinch
4
1
5
Goldfinch
5
0
5
Reed Bunting
11
0
11
Total:
275
90
365

The highlights were as follows:
  • Our ninth jack snipe of the year on 15 October
  • Six common snipe. We have now captured 36 in 2017, which accounts for just over half of the birds ringed on the marsh to date (70). This has reflected the fact that low water levels have allowed us to use rides close to the South Pond throughout the year.
  • Our 32nd great spotted woodpecker of the year. Most are captured in June, as locally breeding adults and recently fledged juveniles visit the feeders at this time. Late in the year, however, birds seem to range more widely, and a few more are typically ringed in the late autumn / winter.
  • Five new Cetti's warblers. Since the first was ringed on 19 May 2013 we have captured and ringed a further 101 birds and controlled one other (from Magor Marsh).
  • Good numbers of redwing (for the site). Forty on 27 October has been the only relatively big day to date.
  • Over 100 blue tits, of which 74 have been newly ringed. 2016 was a very poor year for the species, and numbers reflect what appears to have been a productive breeding season in 2017. The retraps include birds of several years old.
  • Two starlings. The first captured for several years at the site. They appear to have been drawn in to a redwing tape.
Thanks to everyone who has been able to make it along: Heather Coates, Cedwyn Davies, Keith Vaughton, Emma Cole, Val Wilson, Lynn Watts, Kirsty Franklin, Stephen Vickers, Jo Conway, Alex McCubbin, Sophie de Grissac and Edward O'Connor.

Some photos are below

Owain Gabb
30 October 2017

Redwing. One of 40 captured on 27 October (Stephen Vickers)

Starling. Our first since August 2014 (Stephen Vickers)