Sunday, 15 June 2014

Oxwich Marsh 14 June 2014: a day of fledglings

A beautiful warm morning at Oxwich, with a light south-westerly breeze and clear skies. 

Nets were open between 06:00 and 11:30, during which time we trapped 88 birds.  The breakdown by species is shown in the table below:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker 4 1 5
Wren 0 2 2
Dunnock 1 3 4
Robin 6 1 7
Sedge Warbler 1 0 1
Reed Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 10 2 12
Long-tailed Tit 1 0 1
Coal Tit 1 0 1
Blue Tit 16 1 17
Great Tit 13 0 13
Chaffinch 3 3 6
Greenfinch 6 0 6
Goldfinch 9 0 9
Reed Bunting 2 1 3
Total 74 14 88

Most of the birds trapped were juveniles.  These included all but one of the blackcaps and great spotted woodpeckers, the dunnocks, robins, most of the blue and all of the great tits, the long-tailed tit (which was the first of the year of this species), and a large proportion of the greenfinches and goldfinches.  We also trapped our first fledgling reed bunting of the year.

In addition to this welcome evidence of productivity, we also trapped a couple of reedbed warblers, and a coal tit.  The coal tit was partially leucistic.  A photo is below:

Partially leucistic coal tit

The coal tit was a female.  It has a brood patch that was 'going over' indicating that it had bred in 2014.  A fairly odd looking bird.  Coal tit is not a species that is regularly caught at the marsh, and this was only the third since ringing was resumed at the site in March 2013 (since which time almost 2,500 birds have been processed).

The distinctive head of a juvenile long-tailed tit.  Long-tailed tits can only be aged for a short period of the year - as adults undergo a full post-breeding moult, after which they cannot be separated from young of the year on plumage characteristics.






And the entirely grey head of a juvenile goldfinch.  The familiar adult head pattern does not begin to come through until these birds start their post juvenile moult.









The totals by species for the year are shown in the Table below:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Kingfisher 2 0 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 5 10 15
Swallow 1 0 1
Wren 7 16 23
Dunnock 13 22 35
Robin 19 11 30
Stonechat 2 0 2
Blackbird 3 3 6
Cetti's Warbler 2 3 5
Grasshopper Warbler 1 0 1
Sedge Warbler 8 1 9
Reed Warbler 10 2 12
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Blackcap 22 2 24
Wood Warbler 1 0 1
Chiffchaff 8 0 8
Willow Warbler 9 7 16
Goldcrest 2 1 3
Long-tailed Tit 1 0 1
Coal Tit 3 0 3
Blue Tit 87 105 192
Great Tit 36 63 99
Magpie 1 0 1
Chaffinch 59 14 73
Greenfinch 179 43 222
Goldfinch 198 45 243
Siskin 59 53 112
Bullfinch 3 2 5
Reed Bunting 74 47 121
Total: 815 450 1266

We are only half way through the year, but the total number of species ringed is now equal to that in 2013, while the number of new birds ringed is only 6 behind that of 2013.  This reflects increased effort in 2014 and an earlier start to the ringing effort this year.  Next session will hopefully see us pass 200 new goldfinches for the year, and we are also on course for 200 new greenfinches over the next month or so.  The siskins, which were a welcome feature of the catches up until a few weeks ago, appear to have left the area.  None were seen or heard over the course of the session.

Thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Heather Coats, Wayne Morris and Emma Cole for help and company yesterday morning.

Owain Gabb
15/06/2014

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