Monday, 3 April 2017

Oxwich Marsh, 2 April 2017: Hammer Time

A still, bright morning first thing, with a north-westerly breeze gradually picking up as time went on.

We put nets on the edge of the South Pond, in some damp scrub on the edge of the marsh, and by the feeders. The total of forty-eight birds broke down as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Snipe
1
0
1
Wren
0
1
1
Dunnock
0
1
1
Robin
0
1
1
Blackbird
0
2
2
Chiffchaff
1
0
1
Long-tailed Tit
1
1
2
Great Tit
2
4
6
Greenfinch
0
1
1
Goldfinch
10
3
13
Siskin
13
5
18
Yellowhammer
1
0
1
Total:
29
19
48

The features of the catch were:
  • A common snipe. Approximately eight snipe were noted along the edge of the South Pond. One of these birds was captured taking the 2017 tally to twenty-two birds ringed.
  • Various species showing signs of breeding locally, including dunnock, blackbird and siskin, all of which showed brood patches.
  • A good day total of 18 siskins. The species has started visiting the feeders later in 2017 than in 2016; by early April last year we had captured exactly twice the number of unique birds (92 as opposed to 46 individuals).
  • A first winter yellowhammer. The first ever captured at the site, and not a species that is typically seen on the marsh. Populations are present locally on the southern slopes of Cefn Bryn and flocks have been reported feeding around game hoppers on the Penrice Estate, but this was a surprise. Yellowhammers have declined considerably on the Gower coast in recent years, and their range is now largely restricted to coastal valleys between Longhole Cliff and Mewslade, Cefn Bryn and farmland and heathland edge towards the western end of the Peninsula.
In addition, the first grasshopper and willow warblers of the year were heard, and (less welcome) Canada geese were noted in flight over the marsh.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Wayne Morris, Paul Aubrey, Val Wilson, Sammy-Joe Pengelly, Sarah Davies and Jo Monkhouse for company and assistance this morning.

Pictures are below

Owain Gabb
03/04/2017

Possibly the last common snipe of the first winter period of 2017

Yellowhammer (1st winter female)

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