Thursday, 10 September 2015

A record breaking weekend ........... Oxwich Marsh 6-7 September 2015

We put our normal Saturday visit back a day due to the likelihood of excellent conditions for ringing on the Sunday.  This proved a good decision, with a very large catch (216 birds).  On the Monday we tried our second swallow roost of the year (in perfect conditions), capturing a total of 220 birds, of which 202 were swallows.  

The total of 436 birds over the two days was exceptional for the site, and demonstrated both that we are still learning how to catch birds most effectively at Oxwich, and the numbers of birds it is possible to catch at the site in favourable weather.

The breakdown over the two days was as follows:

Species
New
Re-trapped
Total
Sand Martin
3
0
3
Swallow
202
0
202
Tree Pipit
1
0
1
Meadow Pipit
1
0
1
White Wagtail
5
0
5
Wren
3
1
4
Dunnock
2
0
2
Robin
9
4
13
Blackbird
1
0
1
Cetti's Warbler
0
1
1
Sedge Warbler
5
0
5
Reed Warbler
17
0
17
Whitethroat
4
1
5
Blackcap
19
1
20
Chiffchaff
3
0
3
Willow Warbler
6
0
6
Goldcrest
2
0
2
Blue Tit
27
14
41
Great Tit
6
17
23
Chaffinch
8
1
9
Greenfinch
48
2
50
Goldfinch
6
2
8
Siskin
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
7
5
12
Total:
387
49
436

The highlights were the first white wagtails caught at the site, the third tree pipit of the year, the swallows (and sand martins) that came in to roost in the marsh and were caught at dusk on the Monday, the good catches of reed warbler and blackcap, a couple of siskin (of the many passing overhead) and a half century in greenfinches.

Wagtails had been heard calling the marsh on the morning of the Saturday, and it seemed likely that a roost was present.  We therefore put a tape on at dusk to see if any came in.  The results were beyond expectation, although we then realised that we had the challenge of sorting white (moving through at present)  from pied (more challenging for females and first winter birds than for males - particularly in the dark).

A photo of one of the white wagtails, taken by Keith, is below.


White wagtail (Keith Vaughton)

Many thanks to the team of Dan Rouse, Darren Hicks, Keith Vaughton, Heather Coats and Wayne Morris for their efforts.

Now to the Welsh Ringing Course over the weekend of 12/13 September.  Torrential rain and a hurricane predicted (naturally).

Owain Gabb
10/09/2015

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