Sunday, 31 August 2014

Llanrhidian

A rather quiet morning with 34 birds trapped, Acro's represented by just 7 Reed and 4 Sedge. It seems likely the majority may have moved south during the recent persistent north-westerlies? A rather splendid Treecreeper was perhaps the highlight of the session although Water Rails were very evident with five visible at once along just one edge of reed. Not too far from my rail/crake trap, which perhaps it's time I started baiting!

CES 12 at WWT Llanelli

We managed to complete CES 12 having been rained off last Tuesday. The conditions were good and we had a total of 14 birds, slightly up on last year.  Ten of the birds were juveniles including a Blackcap, 2 Chiff Chaffs and a Bullfinch. The total is as follows:


Species
New bird
Retrap
Wren

2
Chiff Chaff
2

Blackcap
1

Blackbird

1
Bullfinch
1

Robin
2
1
Dunnock

2
Long tailed tit

1
Great tit
1

Total
7
7


The totals for the CES this year are 237 new birds and 83 retraps, double the number for the same study last year.
Thanks to Gail Cobbold and Wendy Hall, helpers, for assistance and company.


Heather Coats

Oxwich Marsh 31 August 2014: a boom in blackcaps

A gentle westerly breeze, and a damp morning that rapidly became warm and sunny.  Due to limited personnel, we only put up nets in two of our normal trapping areas; the reed bed and the 'fen meadow.' 
 
In total 81 birds were trapped.  The breakdown was as follows:
 
Species New Re-trapped Total
Tree Pipit 1 0 1
Wren 1 0 1
Dunnock 1 1 2
Robin 3 0 3
Cetti's Warbler 2 0 2
Sedge Warbler 10 1 11
Reed Warbler 10 0 10
Whitethroat 2 1 3
Garden Warbler 1 0 1
Blackcap 27 0 27
Chiffchaff 8 1 9
Willow Warbler 4 0 4
Goldcrest 1 0 1
Blue Tit 1 1 2
Great Tit 1 0 1
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Bullfinch 1 0 1
Reed Bunting 1 0 1
Total: 76 5 81
 
The highlights of the catch were the sixth tree pipit of the year, an excellent catch of blackcaps, another garden warbler, and an influx of chiffchaffs.  In recent weeks very few chiffchaffs have been caught, with willow warblers far more obvious around the marsh (and in the catch), so this signals a slight changing of the guard.
 
Tree pipit
The tree pipit was a young bird, and showed two generations of feathers in the wing.  The hind claw measured 8mm and the depth of the bill behind the nasal cavity was 4.1mm (the similar meadow pipit has a longer hind claw and narrower bill - and there are various plumage differences).
 
The blackcaps were all juveniles.  However they were in very different stages in terms of moult, with one bird being in entirely juvenile plumage (with a bare belly), many showing some post juvenile moult, and some having finished moulting for the year.  Some of the blackcaps and the garden warbler were carrying significant fat, and were clearly feeding up in preparation for / staging in the reed bed during migration. 
 
We are now rapidly approaching 2,000 new birds for the year at the marsh.  This reflects both increased effort in 2014 and, it would seem, a good breeding season for many migrant species.  Hopefully this will be confirmed when the stats come out for Constant Effort Sites around the UK.
 
Many thanks to Wayne Morris for company and assistance this morning.
 
Owain Gabb
31/08/2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Llanrhidian

Two more Green Sandpipers were netted in the first hour of light today before the rain arrived.
juvenile (nice and fresh!)
adult (in wing moult)
Also an adult male Kingfisher [KF] ringed at Oxwich on the 9th of this month appeared in the same net as the Sandpipers, providing an interesting local movement, the bird having gained almost 4 grams in the intervening period, so must have had some successful fishing. The map below shows this and the only other control for the new Llanrhidian to date, a Reed Warbler [RW] ringed at Kenfig NNR.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Llanrhidian update

This Green Sandpiper was the highlight of the 42 birds trapped on Sunday, bringing the totals for Llanrhidian over the last 4 weeks as follows:

  New Rec/Con
Blackbird 4 1
Blackcap 17  
Blue Tit 8  
Bullfinch 1  
Cetti's Warbler 5 1
Chaffinch 1  
Chiffchaff 19  
Dunnock 7  
Goldfinch 1  
Green Sandpiper 1  
Kingfisher 1  
Long-tailed Tit 1  
Pied Flycatcher 1  
Reed Bunting 2  
Reed Warbler 89 10
Robin 7  
Sedge Warbler 164 1
Swallow 11  
Tree Pipit 1  
Whitethroat 1  
Willow Warbler 6  
Wren 16 6
TOTALS 364 19

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Oxwich Marsh 23 August 2014

A bright sunny morning.  Net rounds were excellent until the north-westerly wind picked up at about 09:30, after which it was very slow going. 
 
In addition to 520 feet of net in reedbed edge / young willow scrub (160 feet), reedbed (180 feet) and 'fen meadow' (180 feet), we put up a triangle of three 60 foot nets in the open field.  This was to try and catch pipits: a trip to Kenfig earlier in the week had resulted in 26 tree pipits being captured, which is fairly exceptional in Welsh terms (it exceeded the number of tree pipits captured in Wales in 2013), and we were keen to add a few more to the tally if we could.

The total for the morning was 113 birds.  The breakdown was as follows:

Species New Retrap Total
Sparrowhawk 1 0 1
Kingfisher 1 0 1
Tree Pipit 5 0 5
Wren 4 2 6
Robin 3 2 5
Cetti's Warbler 4 0 4
Grasshopper Warbler 1 0 1
Sedge Warbler 3 0 3
Reed Warbler 10 2 12
Whitethroat 3 0 3
Garden Warbler 4 0 4
Blackcap 13 1 14
Chiffchaff 0 2 2
Willow Warbler 16 0 16
Long-tailed Tit 4 0 4
Marsh Tit 0 1 1
Blue Tit 12 2 14
Great Tit 0 4 4
Chaffinch 3 1 4
Greenfinch 8 1 9
Total: 95 18 113

The catch was very varied (for the site): 20 species.  The highlights were tree pipit (5), grasshopper warbler, our fifth new kingfisher of the year, four Cetti's warblers, and steady numbers of garden warbler, blackcap and willow warbler.  Acro numbers remain low: we did catch 12 reed warblers, but this is fairly unremarkable in a large reedbed!
 
Tree pipit were heard calling regularly over the site this morning.  Birds that were trapped had two measurements taken to confirm species: hind claw length and bill depth.  Hind claw length in tree pipit is shorter than in the similar meadow pipit (7-9mm as opposed to 10-13mm), and the bill is deeper (measured from top to bottom) behind the nostrils (over 4mm in tree pipit).  These measurement were taken with calipers: the bird below had a hind claw of 8.3mm and a bill depth of 4.1mm.  The fine streaks to the flanks can be seen here.  The 'stronger' bill than in meadow pipit was obvious on some of the pipits - the head markings on this first winter bird are not particularly clear, however.  Colouration varied considerably according to the light the birds were in.
 
 
Juvenile tree pipit
Bird numbers in 2014 to date are below.  Three thousand new birds at the site by the end of the year is now the target.  We will need a big September!

Species New Retrap Total
Sparrowhawk 2 0 2
Woodpigeon 1 0 1
Kingfisher 5 1 6
Great Spotted Woodpecker 9 22 31
Sand Martin 1 0 1
Swallow 129 0 129
House Martin 1 0 1
Tree Pipit 5 0 5
Wren 39 25 64
Dunnock 35 39 74
Robin 39 36 75
Stonechat 2 0 2
Blackbird 17 11 28
Cetti's Warbler 11 4 15
Grasshopper Warbler 3 0 3
Sedge Warbler 94 9 103
Reed Warbler 104 21 125
Lesser Whitethroat 2 0 2
Whitethroat 36 1 37
Garden Warbler 16 1 17
Blackcap 159 8 167
Wood Warbler 1 0 1
Chiffchaff 25 3 28
Willow Warbler 77 7 84
Goldcrest 3 1 4
Long-tailed Tit 9 1 10
Marsh Tit 2 1 3
Coal Tit 3 0 3
Blue Tit 169 157 326
Great Tit 84 129 213
Treecreeper 1 0 1
Magpie 1 0 1
Starling 2 0 2
Chaffinch 104 29 133
Greenfinch 256 61 317
Goldfinch 223 53 276
Siskin 60 55 115
Bullfinch 8 6 14
Reed Bunting 90 64 154
Total: 1826 745 2573



Juvenile male Sparrowhawk
 
Juvenile grasshopper warbler
 
In addition to the birds in the reed bed, a goshawk was seen over woodland to the west of the site, initially floating over the canopy, then soaring to considerable altitude.

Many thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Wayne Morris, Heather Coats, Emma Cole, Keith Vaughton, Gail Cobbold (scribe) Barry Stewart and Neil Edwards for company and assistance this morning.  A really good session.

Owain Gabb
23/08/14