A break in the weather, as a short-lived band of high pressure moved through, enabled us to get a session in at the marsh. There was a very light north-westerly breeze and open skies. This meant that the nets were still, but rapidly became visible. We took them down late morning.
We limited ourselves to three nets in the fen meadow (180 feet) and three in the scrub (160 feet), and also put an experimental net through an area of reed that Natural Resources Wales had cut during the week. This is unlikely to be repeated, as we didn't catch a bird in it all morning!
The feeders had been emptying quickly, so we were hoping for a good catch in terms of numbers: this did not materialise, but the range of species captured was good. The catch was as follows:
The highlights of the catch were a few redwings, two blackcaps and a chiffchaff. Redwings are gradually moving into the area, and small parties appeared to have roosted around the marsh. All of our birds were caught during the first net round (albeit one escaped from a net on approach during the second round). The blackcaps (a male and a female) and chiffchaff were good bonuses as they are likely to be wintering birds. It will be interesting to see if they are re-trapped over the remainder of the winter.
One of the blackcaps had pollen deposits around its beak and head. Pictures are below, but these fail to really capture how obvious the yellow was, and how odd the bird looked as a result:
|Male blackcap with pollen deposit|
The morning was relatively slow. We therefore took a car load of us down to Oxwich Bay mid-morning to scan the inshore waters at high tide, leaving a skeleton crew to man the nets. A raft of common scoter was noted in the outer bay, and both shag and cormorant were present, but there was no sign of the two first winter great northern divers that had been seen close inshore a couple of days before. Gadwall numbers are increasing on the South Pond, with 48 present (along with two shoveler and small numbers of mallard).
Totals for the year to date are below:
|6||Great Spotted Woodpecker||11||26||37|
It is looking like we will reach approximately 3,500 new birds at the marsh during the calendar year, a very respectable total.
Thanks to Keith Vaughton, Heather Coats, Cedwyn Davies, Charlie Sargent, Emma Cole and Gail Cobbold for company and assistance this morning.