Saturday, 17 September 2016

Oxwich Marsh 17 September: a late autumn feeling

An evening roost visit on Thursday and and a quiet Saturday morning session in an initially light but rapidly strengthening north-westerly wind resulted in a total of 167 birds being captured. This total broke down as follows: 

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Sand Martin
12
0
12
Swallow
86
0
86
Pied/White Wagtail
15
0
15
Wren
3
0
3
Dunnock
0
1
1
Robin
3
0
3
Cetti's Warbler
1
3
4
Sedge Warbler
1
1
2
Reed Warbler
3
2
5
Garden Warbler
1
0
1
Blackcap
10
0
10
Chiffchaff
12
0
12
Willow Warbler
1
0
1
Goldcrest
2
0
2
Blue Tit
2
0
2
Great Tit
0
1
1
Treecreeper
1
0
1
Greenfinch
1
0
1
Goldfinch
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
1
2
3
Total:
157
10
167

The highlights of the combined catch were:

  • 12 sand martins. We rarely catch more than a few in with the roosting swallows, and this is the highest number in a session at the site to date.
  • A reasonable catch of swallows, taking us to 587 individuals this year. A sparrowhawk heading purposefully throught the area at dusk partially broke up the flock, and the catch would have probably been higher otherwise. The only bird ringed at the marsh and controlled elsewhere that we are aware of to date was recaptured recently by Paul Aubrey at Cefn Sidan (on the Carmarthenshire side of the Burry Inlet).
  • A good catch of pied / white wagtails (also coming in to roost). We had our usual struggle to race and age wagtails in fading light
  • Our latest garden warbler since ringing began at the site (captured on the morning of 17 September)
  • A minor influx of blackcaps and chiffchaffs, typical late September species
  • Our seventh treecreeper of the year. It is always a surprise to catch the species in the marsh, but they do appear to disperse short distances post breeding / fledging.

The relative lack of long distance migrants, combined with the influx of blackcaps and chiffchaffs resulted in a late autumn feel to the morning of 17 September. We have probably now seen our last willow and garden warblers, and although a fall of sedge warblers is still possible, we will only see them (and the reed warblers) for a few more weeks before they return in 2017.

We also have some new kit in the form of a portable hanger, made by Darren. Featuring two small side tables for putting basic kit (when a large ringing table is not needed / the team is small) a deep tray in the base for putting empty bird bags, eleven hooks and even a ring for storing furling sticks it should be very useful.


The new bird hanger (made by Darren)

And one of the wagtails ....... (photo Emma Cole)


Thanks to this week's team of Heather Coats, Cedwyn Davies, Wayne Morris, Emma Cole, Paul Aubrey, Val Wilson, Darren Hicks and Paul Robinson

Owain Gabb
17/09/2016

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