Variable weather in the first few hours of the morning probably resulted in a far more limited catch than might have been. We put up the usual (winter) 160 feet of net, but had to furl for some time while an irritating band of light rain dragged its feet through the area. One of the benefits of ringing at Oxwich is that the site is sheltered from the north-west, to an extent from the south-west and also from the east. Therefore, while the easterly wind was nothing near what was forecasted for the higher ground, there was no avoiding the rain, which came through later and lasted longer than predicted.
A total of 66 birds were caught. The catch was made up of: chiffchaff 3 (0); goldcrest 1 (0); blue tit 12 (10); great tit 9 (7); chaffinch 3 (1); greenfinch 12 (0); goldfinch 16 (2); siskin 7 (1); and, reed bunting 3 (2). The proportion of the total of each species that comprised re-trapped birds is indicated in brackets. In summary, a good variety.
The highlight of the day was probably the siskins. Very few have been caught at the marsh in recent years, and one of the birds caught today (a female) appears to be a control. No redpolls were heard amongst the siskin flocks. It was also good to capture some chiffchaffs, as none were trapped during spring passage in 2013, and it will be nice to see if these early birds stay local.
Goldfinches were present in flocks of 60+ in the trees, but numbers trapped were more modest. A female goldcrest was only the second of the year. Reed bunting numbers appear to be on the wane, although it was also clear that there were many birds that were far too savvy to go in the net.
The table below provides a breakdown of numbers to date at Oxwich in 2014. It is clear from the results that we have ringed a significant proportion of the local tits, but that other species visit the site in large numbers during winter and / or there is rapid turnover in birds. Breaking the century on greenfinches is a minor achievement, but gratifying all the same.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Many thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Keith 'Michael Gove' Vaughton, Emma Cole and Jessica Whitehead for their assistance and company this morning.