Monday, 5 June 2017

Oxwich Marsh 3 June 2017: juvenile chatting

A calm, relatively windless start to the day, with the breeze picking up from the south-west by mid-morning. We set net lines (total 760 feet) through the reed bed, woodland / scrub and in an area of rushy ground with scattered willow and alder.

Although we have had juvenile birds among the catch for several weeks now, this was the first visit where young of the year dominated the total. Sixty one of the one hundred and five birds were youngsters, including 20 recently fledged goldfinches.

A breakdown of the catch is presented in the table below:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker
0
1
1
Dunnock
2
3
5
Robin
4
3
7
Stonechat
1
0
1
Blackbird
3
0
3
Song Thrush
1
0
1
Sedge Warbler
1
5
6
Whitethroat
0
1
1
Chiffchaff
1
1
2
Willow Warbler
1
0
1
Blue Tit
4
1
5
Great Tit
4
1
5
Chaffinch
4
1
5
Greenfinch
4
1
5
Goldfinch
31
5
36
Siskin
11
6
17
Bullfinch
1
0
1
Reed Bunting
2
1
3
Total:
75
30
105

The highlights from our perspective were:
  • A juvenile stonechat. This was the first of the species for 2017. In 2016 the first (also a juvenile) was captured on 4 June. There is no indication the species breeds close to the net rides. June captures seem to relate to 1st or 2nd brood birds / family groups, with another cohort of juveniles appearing in August and passage / dispersal through the area throughout September and October.
  • Capture of a control sedge warbler (a bird ringed at another site) and two returnees from 2016.
  • The first young great tits of the year (4) approximately 1 week earlier than in 2016.
  • A female reed bunting first ringed in 2014 (as a second calendar year bird) and recaptured breeding on the marsh each year since.
Hopefully we will catch some stonechat family groups over the next few weeks, and the periods of heavy rain and blustery winds forecasted for this week will not affect productivity in migrant warblers.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Cedwyn Davies and Val Wilson for company and assistance on Saturday.

Owain Gabb
05/06/2017

Stonechat (Keith Vaughton)

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