Tuesday, 24 May 2016

CES 3 at WWT



On what turned out to be a cold morning, the third Constant Effort Site (CES) session took place on Monday 23rd May. We caught our first juvenile Robins of the season which were all a healthy weight.

The most interesting bird was an adult male Blackcap which had been ringed here on 11th  May 2011 and was aged as a bird which had been fledged in 2010. It is good to see that it made it back to breed again. 

The Reed warbler was unexpected as the site is scrub and quite a distance from the reed beds.


Species
New
Re-trap
Total
Robin
4
1
5
Blackbird
1
1
2
Song thrush
1
0
1
Treecreeper
0
1
1
Blackcap
0
1
1
Long tailed tit
1
0
1
Chiff chaff
1
0
1
Great tit
0
2
2
Goldcrest
0
1
1
Reed warbler
1
0
1
Totals
9
7
16


I was joined today by Paul Aubrey and Phil Mead.  My thanks for their help and company.



Heather Coats

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Oxwich Marsh 14 May 2016: fledglings and breeding grasshopper warbler

Despite consistent forecasts of very low wind speed on both the BBC and the Met Check websites all week, there was in fact a moderate south-easterly blowing throughout the morning. Overhead conditions were good (mainly cloudy), though, and we were able to put out a reasonable amount of net (780 feet in a mixture of scrub and reed bed habitats).

The marsh is typically quiet in May, with catches rarely approaching treble figures during a session, and the total of 57 birds today was about par. The catch broke down as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker
0
1
1
Wren
0
1
1
Dunnock
0
1
1
Robin
1
0
1
Blackbird
1
1
2
Song Thrush
0
1
1
Grasshopper Warbler
1
0
1
Sedge Warbler
4
1
5
Reed Warbler
3
0
3
Whitethroat
0
1
1
Blackcap
2
0
2
Chiffchaff
1
0
1
Blue Tit
0
3
3
Great Tit
0
3
3
Chaffinch
1
3
4
Greenfinch
5
3
8
Goldfinch
5
3
8
Siskin
5
1
6
Bullfinch
1
0
1
Reed Bunting
1
2
3
Total:
30
25
56

Juvenile greenfinch (Keith Vaughton)
The most interesting aspect of the catch was that fledglings of various species are now starting to come in. We had our first greenfinches, blackbird and robin of the year, with the former being the least expected (in 2014 the first fledged greenfinches were captured on 24 May and in 2015 on 30 May - so this is the earliest record by ten days). Siskin fledglings continue to visit the feeders, with the first recorded last week. More surprising, however, is that we are still catching un-ringed adult siskins, with the 135 different individuals processed in 2016 considerably in excess of the total for 2015 (58) and 2014 (62) already. If the birds are double-brooded again this year, we can expect them to stick around until July.

Juvenile blackbird (Owain Gabb). Note the ticks around the eye
The diversity of the catch was reasonable this morning, albeit the only notable species was grasshopper warbler. We captured 11 individuals in 2015, and are up to 3 so far in 2016. There have been regular reeling birds on site for some time now.. The bird we captured was a male, as it showed a cloacal protrusion, and it may be that this bird has taken up territory. We proved breeding in grasshopper warbler at Oxwich last year, through the capture of a male twice during the breeding season (if showed a cloacal protrusion when captured for the second time), a female with a brood patch, and finally recently fledged young. Hopefully we can do the same in 2016.

Thanks to this morning's crew of Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Cedwyn Davies, Wayne Morris, Emma Cole and Val Wilson.

Owain Gabb
14/05/2016

CES 2 at WWT Llanelli



The second Constant Effort Site(CES) session took place on Friday 13th May. The number of birds ringed was down on the first session, however, we had some interesting captures.

There were two new Bullfinches bringing the year total to eight, and of the four Song thrushes only one was a retrap, from last year. It was interesting to trap an adult Lesser whitethroat again this year following one in each of the last two years.

The Green woodpecker was only the second of this species caught here.

Species
New
Re-trap
Total
Robin
0
2
2
Wren
0
1
1
Dunnock
2
1
3
Song thrush
3
1
4
Blackcap
1
0
1
Green woodpecker
1
0
1
Bullfinch
2
2
4
Great tit
0
1
1
Lesser whitethroat
1
0
1
Totals
10
8
18















Lesser whitethroat

Bullfinch

Green woodpecker


I was joined today by Paul Aubrey, Phil Mead, Dan Rouse and Sammy-jo Pengelly. Dan was able to ring 3 Great tit chicks in a nearby nest box as part of the project to monitor nests on the reserve. 

All photographs by Paul Aubrey.

My thanks for everyone's help.

                                                                                                                             Heather Coats 






Sunday, 8 May 2016

Oxwich Marsh 8 May 2016: the first fledgling

A light to moderate south-easterly breeze and a dry morning, following overnight rain. We put out just over 300 feet of net in reedbed (240 feet) and scrub.

The catch was as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Wren
0
1
1
Dunnock
0
2
2
Robin
1
0
1
Cetti's Warbler
0
1
1
Sedge Warbler
3
2
5
Reed Warbler
4
2
6
Whitethroat
4
0
4
Willow Warbler
1
0
1
Blue Tit
1
2
3
Great Tit
0
4
4
Chaffinch
0
1
1
Greenfinch
2
0
2
Goldfinch
1
2
3
Siskin
7
7
14
Bullfinch
1
0
1
Reed Bunting
0
1
1
Total:
25
25
50

The highlights were the first Cetti's warbler (a male) and bullfinch (a female) of the year, both of which were well overdue, a steady trickle of whitethroats, reed and sedge warblers, and good numbers of siskin. The latter included our first fledgling of the year. This bird, which was beginning post juvenile moult was also carrying a reasonable amount of fat (score of three on the British Working Group system), but was not the fattest bird of the day. That honour went to a sedge warbler with a fat score of six (the tracheal pit was full and fat was overlying the breast muscles by several mm), which was assumedly staging at the marsh before moving on. All of the recaptured birds had been ringed on site.

A picture of the fledged siskin is below. It was a streaky-looking bird with brown colouration in some of the wing feathers. It showed a typical clean, unfeathered belly, with a few pin feathers coming though around the fringes. in 2014 the first fledged siskins were captured on 3 May, while in 2015 they were later (from 23 May onward).

Siskin (juv)
Thanks to this morning's team of Heather Coats, Val Wilson, Darren and Jacob Hicks.

Owain Gabb
08/05/2016