Sunday, 26 March 2017

Spring Finches, a bat, and a Gower Society Grant

Weather in mid to late March has remained unsettled. The conditions yesterday were fairly good, however, with a light northerly wind and open skies.

We have managed two short additional sessions since our last Oxwich blog post, and the consolidated results are presented in the table below.

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
0
1
1
Wren
0
3
3
Dunnock
0
7
7
Blackbird
0
1
1
Cetti's Warbler
0
1
1
Chiffchaff
1
0
1
Blue Tit
1
5
6
Great Tit
1
5
6
Chaffinch
2
2
4
Greenfinch
3
0
3
Goldfinch
43
25
68
Siskin
16
8
24
Reed Bunting
2
5
7
Total
70
63
133

The highlights over the sessions have been:
  • A 6th jack snipe for 2017 (captured on 26 March). This is the latest date in the spring / 1st winter period on which we have caught the species.
  • Our first chiffchaff of 2017. In previous years we have caught overwintering birds in January.
  • Good numbers of goldfinch, taking us over 150 unique birds this year
  • Siskins starting to be captured on a more regular basis. We have captured varying numbers of siskins over the past few years (150 in 2016, 58 in 2016 and 62 in 2014), and they have started to come through later than last year. Of 31 birds captured to date two have been controls.
  • Returning reed buntings. We have captured five birds from previous years over the past few sessions.
Perhaps less welcome was a pipistrelle species captured on 22 March. Bats pose different extraction challenges to birds.

The bat showed gingery fur, and a snub nosed face with an internarial ridge (ridge on the nose), suggesting it was a soprano pipistrelle. It was captured in the middle of the day in a ride close to the main water channel through the marsh. It is likely that it was an animal recently emerged from hibernation, and hungry as a result. Following release the bat flew off strongly.

Gower Ringing Group is very grateful to the Gower Society for the provision of grant funding for the third successive year. The grant covers the cost of rings and seed for the feeding station, and is vital for maintaining effort and planning for the coming year.

Many thanks to those who have attended sessions over the period: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Cedwyn Davies, Val Wilson, Ben Rees, Lynn Watts, Olivia Pargeter, Rhodri Jones and Natasha Dodds. 

Thanks also to Dr Peter Shepherd and Hannah Bilston for comments on the identification of the bat.

Pictures are below.

Owain Gabb
26/03/2017

Female reed bunting

L-R Olivia Pargeter, Heather Coats, Val Wilson, Cedwyn Davies (seated) and Keith Vaughton

Goldfinch

Soprano pipistrelle

Soprano pipistrelle

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