Sunday, 24 July 2016

Oxwich Marsh 23 July: some unexpected results

Conditions at the marsh were near perfect for ringing for the first few hours of the day. It was warm, overcast and virtually windless. A westerly breeze then gradually picked up, and the sun came out; the catch in the reedbed then dropped off, and we began to take the nets down around 10:30. 

The catch was as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Sand Martin
1
0
1
Swallow
8
0
8
Wren
6
0
6
Dunnock
1
2
3
Robin
1
1
2
Cetti's Warbler
2
1
3
Sedge Warbler
11
2
13
Reed Warbler
23
6
29
Lesser Whitethroat
1
0
1
Whitethroat
1
0
1
Blackcap
2
0
2
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Willow Warbler
7
0
7
Goldcrest
1
0
1
Blue Tit
3
0
3
Great Tit
5
8
13
Treecreeper
3
0
3
Chaffinch
2
3
5
Greenfinch
6
1
7
Goldfinch
18
3
21
Reed Bunting
7
0
7
Total
113
27
140

A sand martin (in the half light)
On arrival at the marsh it was apparent that a swallow roost was present very close to the main net ride. It then became a race against time to get the nets up ahead of the roost breaking up at dawn. We managed it, but most of the c. 200 birds flew away from the net line, and we only captured eight swallows and a sand martin. Still, an unexpected start.

As noted in Barry's blog post of yesterday, this was the first day when dispersal of birds through the marsh was noted. In addition to 29 reed warblers, the 13 sedge warblers, 7 willow warblers and lesser whitethroat all indicated that birds are moving around. The lesser whitethroat, a juvenile, was probably the bird of the day; we typically only capture a couple of birds a year (they are a fairly sparsely distributed local breeding species and do not breed close to the ringing site).




One of our three treecreepers

It was notable to catch three treecreepers in a session. All were recently fledged juveniles (as were the seven reed buntings and the two new Cetti's warblers captured). The continued dearth of blue tits does now suggest a very poor breeding season for them locally; we have caught 128 unique birds this year to date, while at the same point in 2015 we had caught 198. Of the 2016 birds only 25 have been juveniles compared to 87 (by 23 July) in 2015.


If you would like to understand what it takes to become a ringer and/or are interested in joining the Group, please leave your contact details in the comments box at the bottom and we will get back to you in due course.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Cedwyn Davies, Emma Cole and new prospective trainee Terry Sullivan for their company and assistance this morning

Owain Gabb
24/07/2016


A smart-looking young willow warbler


A dispersing sedge warbler

Our first lesser whitethroat of 2016

Lesser whitethroat (showing typical iris colour of young bird)

Cinnabar moth caterpillars on ragwort

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