Friday, 8 April 2016

Oxwich Marsh 8 April 2016

A light to moderate north-westerly wind, albeit a little stronger than forecast, and a bright start made for reasonably good ringing conditions this morning.

As the longer distance migrants are starting to come through, and conditions were conducive, we put some net through the reed bed, in some wet scrub and around the feeders. In the event almost all the birds, were caught close to the feeders.

The catch was as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Wren
0
2
2
Dunnock
0
2
2
Robin
0
1
1
Blackbird
0
1
1
Song Thrush
0
1
1
Chiffchaff
2
0
2
Willow Warbler
2
0
2
Long-tailed Tit
1
1
2
Blue Tit
1
0
1
Great Tit
2
5
7
Magpie
0
1
1
Chaffinch
0
1
1
Brambling
1
0
1
Greenfinch
2
0
2
Goldfinch
2
3
5
Siskin
5
6
11
Reed Bunting
1
0
1
Total:
19
24
43

The features of the catch were the first willow warblers of the year, a recaptured magpie from 2014, a late brambling, and a nice catch of eleven siskin.

Brambling (Keith Vaughton)
The brambling was unexpected. It was a second calendar year female bird. It showed five retained greater coverts, while the tail shape also indicated that it was a bird fledged in 2015 (albeit this feature becomes less reliable as the winter goes on and cannot be relied upon alone according to Svensson (1992)). As expected, the bird did not show a brood patch - that would have made the capture even more interesting!
Magpie (Keith Vaughton)

The magpie was aged based on the shape and extent of white on the first primary (adult outer primaries show more white / have a more limited black tip). It was interesting that it was a recapture: it was initially ringed (as a second calendar year bird) in May 2014, and is therefore likely to be getting fairly close to four years of age. It showed a well developed, engorged brood patch, indicating it is breeding on the marsh.

Other species showing cloacal protrusions or brood patches, indicating local breeding, were dunnock, robin, blackbird, long-tailed tit, greenfinch, goldfinch, siskin and reed bunting.

Willow warbler (Keith Vaughton)
There was no indication of grasshopper warbler, reed or sedge warbler in the marsh this morning. It will be interesting to see if any of these species have arrived by next week. In 2015 we recorded the first grasshopper warbler on 11 April, the first sedge warbler on 15 April and the first reed warbler on 18 April.

Finally, news of a control goldfinch. A bird ringed on 25 March 2016 had made a trip of 386 km in a west north-westerly direction to arrive at Gleninach Quay, Ballyvaughan, County Clare, Ireland eleven days later. An interesting movement - certainly our best for a goldfinch to date.

Thanks to Keith Vaughton, Paul Aubrey, Emma Cole and Phil Mead for company and assistance this morning.

Owain Gabb
08/04/2016

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