2015 was the third year of Gower Ringing Group activity at Oxwich Marsh. It proved to be another good one: group members put in a lot of effort, and were rewarded by some excellent returns. A summary follows, and a more detailed report can be accessed through following the link towards the bottom of the page.
|Kingfisher (Keith Vaughton)|
The data set that is emerging is both valuable and interesting. It indicates, for example, that while the site currently supports relatively small numbers of breeding reed and sedge warblers, far larger numbers occur during autumn passage. While some of these warblers have been controlled at sites to the south and south-east (along a relatively intuitive broad front migratory corridor), others appear to head off in the wrong direction, as we have recovered fledglings recently ringed at Kenfig (to the east) at Oxwich, while some of our birds have headed north west to the Teifi Marshes in Pembrokeshire after fledging. Perhaps more surprising than apparent navigation errors in these juvenile warblers, however, was the recovery of a Cetti's warbler ringed at Magor Marsh, Monmouthshire in 2012 at Oxwich (a movement of almost 100 km). It does illustrate that Cetti's warblers are capable of dispersal, as they have had to be to colonise much of England and Wales over the past few decades, despite their stubby wings.
|Redwing (Charlie Sargent)|
The data also indicate that species such as tree pipit and garden warbler have very short periods of (relative) abundance locally, and poor weather during these periods can influence annual catch rates considerably - catches of both decreased in 2015. It will be interesting to see how the totals shape up in 2016. Between year differences have also been very apparent in late autumn immigrants, with the 167 goldcrests captured in 2015 more than doubling the 78 birds trapped in 2014, and reflecting widespread reports of a significant autumn influx of the species to the UK. Similarly, despite unsettled weather, we managed to capture 99 redwing at the marsh this year, compared to a paltry eight in 2014.
It has also been nice to capture a few old stagers, including a seven year old male reed bunting, a dunnock of the same age, and a couple of six year old blue tits. All were ringed by the previous ringing incumbent of the marsh, Barry Stewart, who was active on the site until 2010.
|Whinchat (Keith Vaughton)|
|Redstart (Keith Vaughton)|
|Grasshopper warbler (Owain Gabb)|
The other critical factor in keeping the ringing effort going has been a Gower Society grant, which has done much to cover the cost of rings and seed (for the feeding station). We are extremely grateful for the support of the Society in 2015.
Many thanks to all the ringers and helpers who have contributed so much this year, to the land managers, Natural Resources Wales, for their support, and to the Gower Society for grant funding. 2016 should be another great year at Oxwich.
Some further photographs are below, and the full report can be found by following this link (to a page where the PDF'd report can be downloaded):
|Lesser whitethroat (Keith Vaughton)|
|Lesser redpolls (Keith Vaughton)|
|Mistle thrush (Owain Gabb)|
|Stonechat (Owain Gabb)|
|Skylark (Owain Gabb)|
|Jack snipe squatting characteristically following release (Charlie Sargent)|
|One of 23 great spotted woodpeckers captured in 2015 (Owain Gabb)|