Sunday, 13 March 2016

Oxwich Marsh 10 & 12 March 2016: further sniping

A period of settled weather allowed the completion of two short visits to the marsh this week. During the first the wind speed picked up quickly, making the single net billow, while during the second session the conditions were ideal, with overcast skies and an almost windless morning.

The combined catch was as follows:

Species
New
Retrapped
Total
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Snipe
1
0
1
Dunnock
0
3
3
Long-tailed Tit
1
0
1
Blue Tit
1
4
5
Great Tit
0
3
3
Treecreeper
1
0
1
Chaffinch
6
3
9
Greenfinch
0
2
2
Goldfinch
5
2
7
Siskin
2
14
16
Reed Bunting
4
1
5
Total:
22
32
54

The highlights of the catch were another jack snipe (following four last week), a common snipe, the first of both treecreeper and long-tailed tit for the year and a few reed buntings.  

The jack snipe was a first winter based on the pattern of the undertail coverts, the shape of the tail feathers and other supporting features such as brown flecks in the crown and green in the scapulars. We again struggled with the ageing of the common snipe, as the pattern of the inner median coverts did not conform clearly to either adult or first winter plumage, so we left the bird unaged.

Treecreeper
The second of the sessions saw us pass 8,000 new birds ringed at the site since we began ringing at Oxwich in February 2013. The most frequently ringed species has been goldfinch (915 to date), but 818 greenfinch, 318 reed bunting, 539 blackcap, 803 barn swallow, 317 sedge warbler and 408 reed warbler are all notable, and we have started building a good picture of timing of breeding and patterns of seasonal use of the site by many species through both initial ringing and recapture data.

It was a good day for Val. As the only trainee present for the Saturday session, she was able to ring her first of both snipe species, as well as her first treecreeper.

Thanks to those who have attended one or both sessions this week: Keith Vaughton, Paul Aubrey, Emma Cole, Wayne Morris and Val Wilson. Particular thanks to Keith for organising the Thursday session in my absence and for photos.

Owain Gabb
12/03/2016

Jack snipe (lower) and common snipe

Val processing her first jack snipe

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