Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Oxwich Marsh 16-20 October: early winter warmers

Due to the settled easterly weather we completed three sessions over five mornings.  On two of the sessions we had very few ringers available, and consequently limited net out. During these sessions we concentrated our activity in the open reed bed and in an area we have been targeting autumn passage goldcrest and chiffchaffs (a ride through a small area of mature scrub with a canopy that passes over the net).  We knew that we would catch relatively few birds, but there was a good chance that any we did would be of particular interest.  On the Saturday (when wind speed was higher) we targeted finches around the feeding station, which is located in more sheltered scrub.

Over the three sessions the catch was as follows:

Species
New
Re-trapped
Total
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Snipe
1
0
1
Wren
2
2
4
Dunnock
0
1
1
Robin
1
4
5
Blackbird
4
0
4
Song Thrush
2
1
3
Redwing
22
0
22
Cetti's Warbler
1
2
3
Blackcap
4
0
4
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Goldcrest
25
4
29
Long-tailed Tit
7
0
7
Coal Tit
5
0
5
Blue Tit
11
6
17
Great Tit
1
2
3
Nuthatch
0
1
1
Chaffinch
11
0
11
Greenfinch
27
4
31
Goldfinch
12
3
15
Siskin
2
0
2
Lesser Redpoll
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
4
2
6
Total:
149
32
181

The highlights over the visits were a jack snipe, which flew into a triangle of nets that we normally use for pipits and larks, a common snipe, a good total of redwing for the site (which has no berry-bearing bushes to help retain thrush flocks), a steady catch of goldcrest (taking us well over 100 for the year), an influx of coal tits and a couple more lesser redpoll.

The jack snipe is the third caught on the marsh since we started trying to capture snipe species in early winter 2014 (and was a complete fluke).  The ratio of three jack snipe to fourteen common snipe captured to date seems quite high, but as we carry on catching we are likely to obtain greater perspective.  The common snipe was captured on a bund through the marsh: this was less unexpected as a bird had been flushed from a ditch in the area on several occasions while putting nets up.

The redwing were attracted into two sixty foot nets using a tape lure of singing birds recorded in Latvia.  Ageing them provides an annual challenge: at present we have determined slightly over half of the 22 birds captured as adults.

Coal tit is a scarcity on the marsh.  Last year we had a very small late summer influx (three birds) to the feeders, probably of birds dispersing from local breeding populations (compared to 393 blue tits!).  In 2015 the influx has been much later, with birds only captured during the last few days.  It is easy to speculate these are migrants, particularly given the numbers recorded on the Welsh Islands this year (see e.g. the Bardsey Blog on 11 October: http://ow.ly/TGxrn), but it would be nice to get a control to prove it.

Many thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Paul Aubrey, Emma Cole, Wayne Morris, Darren Hicks, Valerie Wilson and Charlie Sargent for company and for running sessions in my absence due to work.

Some pictures are below

Owain Gabb
21/10/2015

Coal tit (Darren Hicks)

Lesser redpoll (Paul Aubrey)

Common snipe (left) and jack snipe (right) (Charlie Sargent)

Jack snipe (Charlie Sargent)

Jack snipe on release (Charlie Sargent)

Redwing (Charlie Sargent)

3 comments:

  1. Hi Owain, any chance that you will be ringing over the coming week in Oxwich? I am on holiday with family in oxwich and as an ex ringer from the Wicken Fen Ringing Group it would be a lovely to observe for a short while with my family.
    Kind regards
    David

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi David. Probably Sunday morning, albeit only for a few hours as the weather forecast is that the wind will increase. My mobile is 07780 002530. Give me a ring tomorrow and we can finalise details. All the best, Owain

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have sent you a txt. Regards David

    ReplyDelete