Monday, 31 August 2015

Oxwich Marsh 29-30 August 2015: a pair of number two's.............

A blustery Saturday, followed by a calm, cloudy Sunday.  

The Saturday was the main session due to people's availability.  We erected 500 feet of net in scrub (200 feet) and along a dry bund through reedbed with patches of ruderal vegetation and stands of bracken (300 feet).

I did a short (2 hour) supplementary session on the Sunday, as the forecast was perfect for catching birds, with very low wind speed and dull, overcast conditions.  The net was limited to 300 feet on the bund. 

It appears likely, based on the results from Sunday (25 birds) that a lot of birds moved on during Saturday night.

The combined total for the two days is below

Species New Re-trapped        Total
Tree Pipit 1 0 1
Wren 2 1 3
Robin 3 0 3
Blackbird 1 0 1
Cetti's Warbler 1 0 1
Grasshopper Warbler 2 0 2
Sedge Warbler 12 1 13
Reed Warbler 19 1 20
Whitethroat 1 1 2
Blackcap 5 0 5
Chiffchaff 3 1 4
Willow Warbler 5 0 5
Blue Tit 2 3 5
Great Tit 0 1 1
Nuthatch 1 0 1
Chaffinch 1 1 2
Reed Bunting 3 0 3
Total: 62 10 72

The highlights of the catch were the second tree pipit of the year, the second nuthatch of the year (and since ringing at the marsh recommenced at Oxwich in February 2013) and grasshopper warblers nine and ten of 2015.  It was also good to catch a reasonable number of reed warblers.

At least 6 tree pipits were heard over the morning, and one was captured and one escaped from a net on approach on the Sunday.  A good still morning with plenty of net and personnel at present might see us catch a few birds.  The individual captured was a first winter, and showed pale fringes to the tertials and a mixture of adult and juvenile feathers in the coverts. The nuthatch was a female, but was not aged due to the fact that following post juvenile moult no differences between adult and first winter birds are currently known.  It was sexed based on the relatively dull colouration of the undertail coverts and flanks.

The grasshopper warblers were a first winter and an adult.  The fresh plumage of the juvenile contrasted markedly to the heavily worn wing and tail feathers of the adult bird.

Many of the warblers were carrying significant fat indicating active migration.  Two of the sedge warblers had a fat score of seven, where only a small amount of the breast muscle remains visible and much of the remainder of the bird is covered in fat.  The heaviest sedge warbler on the weekend was 18.2g, which was approximately 7g more than the lightest.

Nuthatch (female)

Tree pipit (with ticks around the bill and above the eye)
Thanks to the Saturday team of Darren Hicks, Wayne Morris and Cedwyn Davies.

Owain Gabb
31/08/2015

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