Monday, 6 October 2014

Oxwich Marsh 6 October: a late gropper

The BBC had predicted strong winds for Saturday and rain for Sunday morning, so it was looking unlikely we would get a session in.  Some time on Saturday, however, the forecast changed.  The weather was now ideal - the only problem was that with the late notice very few were able to make it.

The first few hours after dawn were almost textbook ringing conditions.  A shower just after we had got the nets up (meaning immediate furling) dampened the early spirits, but after that it was very calm, cloudy and settled until about 10:00, when the wind picked up from the south west.  We only put the fen meadow and scrub nets up, and took the former down at 10:30, by which time they had done their work.
 
For a long while it looked like we wouldn't break 40 birds, but a late run of finches fired us close to 70.  A real bonus when it looked like we wouldn't get a session in!
 
The catch was as follows:
 
Species New Re-trapped Total
Wren 1 1 2
Dunnock 2 1 3
Robin 1 2 3
Grasshopper Warbler 1 0 1
Chiffchaff 8 0 8
Goldcrest 9 0 9
Long-tailed Tit 4 0 4
Marsh Tit 0 1 1
Blue Tit 1 1 2
Great Tit 2 0 2
Chaffinch 1 0 1
Greenfinch 4 1 5
Goldfinch 17 6 23
Reed Bunting 4 1 5
Total: 55 14 69
 
The highlights were a late grasshopper warbler (which we quickly checked the underside streaking of to rule out something scarcer), good numbers of goldcrest and chiffchaff and four more reed bunting.  We are now over 300 new goldfinch for the year, so are hoping to get some controls or at least some local interchange with the Vale of Glamorgan or the Nitten Field (Mewslade) on those.
 
The grasshopper warbler was a young bird.  It wasn't carrying any fat, and had a fairly pronounced sternum, so hopefully it will feed up before moving on.
Grasshopper warbler (Charlie Sargent)
We are now nearing the next notional target for the year, 3,000 new birds for the site in 2014.  A breakdown of current totals is below:
 
Species New Re-trapped Total
Sparrowhawk 2 2 4
Woodpigeon 1 0 1
Kingfisher 5 1 6
Great Spotted Woodpecker 11 25 36
Sand Martin 14 0 14
Swallow 382 0 382
House Martin 1 0 1
Tree Pipit 13 0 13
Meadow Pipit 41 0 41
Wren 48 38 86
Dunnock 46 61 108
Robin 89 52 141
Stonechat 3 0 3
Blackbird 22 17 39
Song Thrush 4 0 4
Cetti's Warbler 22 10 32
Grasshopper Warbler 6 0 6
Sedge Warbler 116 10 126
Reed Warbler 144 23 167
Lesser Whitethroat 2 0 2
Whitethroat 41 4 46
Garden Warbler 21 1 22
Blackcap 290 16 306
Wood Warbler 1 0 1
Chiffchaff 125 6 131
Willow Warbler 92 7 99
Goldcrest 42 1 43
Long-tailed Tit 16 5 21
Marsh Tit 2 5 7
Coal Tit 3 0 3
Blue Tit 222 228 450
Great Tit 97 138 235
Treecreeper 1 0 1
Magpie 1 0 1
Starling 2 0 2
Chaffinch 135 34 169
Greenfinch 287 70 357
Goldfinch 304 88 392
Siskin 60 55 115
Bullfinch 15 11 26
Reed Bunting 126 71 197
Total: 2855 979 3836
 
An excellent year to date. 
 
It would be good to catch another couple of late long distance migrant warblers, a few more Cetti's warblers (as the Teifi RG have had some very interesting controls) and to sneak up to 300 blackcaps for the year.  However, as always at this time of year, we will lose more sessions to weather than previously, so it is difficult to predict how we will go from here.
 
Thanks to Charlie Sargent for company, assistance and telling me how to spell his surname!
 
Owain Gabb
06/10/14

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