Sunday, 13 December 2015

Oxwich Marsh 13 December 2015: twenty-three peckers

After three weeks of no ringing due to weather, we took a calculated risk with the weather forecast today.  It was supposed to be light rain until some time approaching 09:00, along with a 19 mph south-easterly wind.  In fact the rain had cleared out well before dawn, and the wind was 5-7 mph increasing to c. 10-12 mph and from the west / north-west.

We put limited net out: a total of 200 feet in the scrub.  We captured 74 birds, with re-traps slightly outnumbering new captures.  The breakdown was as follows:

Species
New
Re-trapped
Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2
1
3
Robin
0
2
2
Goldcrest
1
0
1
Coal Tit
1
0
1
Blue Tit
3
27
30
Great Tit
0
5
5
Chaffinch
5
2
7
Greenfinch
4
1
5
Goldfinch
17
3
20
Total:
33
41
74

The features of the catch were three great spotted woodpeckers, of which only one was a recaptured bird, and a good capture of goldfinches.  Other than the woodpeckers, however, it was a typical catch for the habitat and the time of year.

The two new great spotted woodpeckers, both of which were first winter males, takes the total of unique woodpeckers captured at the marsh in 2015 (newly ringed birds plus recaptured birds from previous years) to 23.  This is the sort of information that you cannot gain without marking birds.

Some photos are below:

Great spotted woodpecker (male)

Great spotted woodpecker (male).  Note the war wounds on the fingers!

Thanks to Wayne Morris, Charlie Sargent and Keith Vaughton for company and assistance this morning, and to Keith for keeping the feeders topped up last week.

Owain Gabb
13/12/2015

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