Sunday, 17 April 2016

Oxwich Marsh 17 April 2016: the first gropper of the year

A light north to north-westerly wind that strengthened slightly over the morning, along with variable cloud cover, made for reasonable conditions for a session

The catch was larger than in recent weeks, and was made up as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Wren
2
3
5
Dunnock
0
3
3
Blackbird
1
1
2
Song Thrush
2
0
2
Grasshopper Warbler
1
0
1
Blackcap
2
0
2
Chiffchaff
2
0
2
Blue Tit
2
3
5
Great Tit
1
4
5
Chaffinch
2
0
2
Greenfinch
3
2
5
Goldfinch
17
12
29
Siskin
6
10
16
Reed Bunting
2
3
5
Total:
43
41
84

Grasshopper warbler
The most interesting features of the day were a grasshopper warbler, caught in the middle of the reedbed, and two blackcaps (a male and female).

A grasshopper warbler had been heard reeling at dawn close to where the bird was captured, so it is reasonable to assume that the individual was male, albeit it had not developed a cloacal protrusion as is only likely to have arrived very recently. The blackcap are also likely to have been new in, as no alarming or singing birds had been present during previous sessions.

Other migrants present in and around the marsh were willow warbler and reed warbler, both of which were heard singing, but neither of which were captured during the session. 

There appears to be passage of goldfinch taking place at present, as indicated by the relatively large catch of 29 birds this morning. Other species are getting on with breeding however, including siskin, blackbird and dunnock, while it is likely that the two song thrushes (both males with cloacal protrusions) may have been involved in a territorial dispute as they were in the same net line.

One other feature of the morning was a couple of appearances by a cream-crown marsh harrier, confirmed as a female (as opposed to an [unsexed] first winter bird) by Emma on second viewing. 

Thanks are due to Wayne Morris, Paul Aubrey, Emma Cole, Val Wilson, Dan Rouse and Espen Quinto-Ashman for company and assistance this morning.

Owain Gabb
17/04/2016

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