Saturday, 31 December 2016

Oxwich Marsh 31 December 2016: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

A quiet session in a low to moderate south-westerly breeze. The visibility was good on the marsh, but there was thick fog on the higher ground for the first few hours.

The modest catch of 23 birds was as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Water Rail
1
0
1
Jack Snipe
2
0
2
Snipe
2
0
2
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
1
2
Wren
0
1
1
Dunnock
0
1
1
Robin
0
2
2
Cetti's Warbler
0
1
1
Goldcrest
1
0
1
Blue Tit
2
6
8
Great Tit
0
1
1
Goldfinch
0
1
1
Total
9
14
23

The highlights were a water rail, two jack and two common snipe.

The water rail was almost certainly a female. Wing length and bill length were well outside the male range, albeit tarsus length was at the upper end of the female scale.

The snipe species (all of which were first winters) took us to year end totals of 14 jack and 19 common respectively for 2016.

Thanks to today's team of Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton and Val Wilson.

Some photographs are below.

Happy New Year - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Owain Gabb
31/12/2016
Wing of 1st winter snipe

Snipe

Water rail

Jack snipe (a small individual showing a lot of pale feathering in the crown)

Two jack snipe (showing variation in crown colour - atypical bird left)

Dunnock. This bird showed some warty skin around the eye and bill, It was a retrap originally ringed a juvenile in the summer.

A barn owl has been roosting on our wooden hanger (which is left in an open shed)

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Oxwich Marsh 17 December 2016: the only session of the month to date!

It has been a frustrating first half of the month. Forecasts have proven inaccurate, resulting in several last minute call-offs, and wind and rain has hampered opportunities at other times.

It was therefore good to be able to get a session in this Saturday. The weather was almost perfect. A very light north to north-westerly wind, overcast skies and no rain.

Even so the catch was modest, as it appears that there are few birds in the marsh at present. The total of 30 birds broke down as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Snipe
3
0
3
Kingfisher
0
1
1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2
0
2
Robin
1
0
1
Redwing
1
0
1
Cetti's Warbler
1
0
1
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Goldcrest
1
0
1
Blue Tit
8
1
9
Great Tit
1
1
2
Reed Bunting
2
3
5
Total:
24
6
30

The highlights were:
  • Three first winter snipe. There are over 60 in the marsh at present, but few were in the trapping area this morning. All showed two generations of feathers in the wing coverts, allowing them to be aged.
  • A kingfisher. This bird was ringed in September, so has been present on the marsh for at least three months (assuming that it has remained local during this time).
  • Two great spotted woodpeckers. As in 2015 we have seen captured great spotted woodpeckers at the feeders late in the year, suggesting these individuals may be ranging around looking for food / have dispersed into the area. Prior to this we captured our last new birds in July (birds after this are typically recaptures). This takes the annual total of great spotted woodpeckers captured on the marsh to 20.
  • What is probably the final Cetti's warbler of the year. A fat score of 3 might suggest a bit of mid-winter dispersal? We have captured 26 different individuals in the marsh in 2016.
  • A good December haul of four chiffchaffs. These were all typical collybitas, and are assumedly wintering locally.
Thanks to all of those who made it out yesterday (Keith Vaughton, Cedwyn Davies, Val Wilson, Ben Rees and Natasha Dodds), and to those who have come to sessions only to have them called off due to weather (in addition to the above, Darren Hicks, Heather Coats, Sammy-Jo Pengelly and Emma Cole).

Happy Christmas to all blog readers

Owain Gabb

18/12/2016


Kingfisher

Great spotted woodpeckers. Male left (with red hind crown) and female right

Cetti's warbler

Chiffchaff