Saturday, 29 July 2017

Oxwich Marsh 29 July 2017: a visitor from Madrid

Light to moderate south-westerly winds and sunny intervals at Oxwich this morning, following a period of heavy overnight rain and moderate to strong south-westerlies during the preceding week.

We put nets through the reed bed, fen and, later in the morning, around the feeders. The catch was as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
3
4
Wren
1
1
2
Dunnock
1
2
3
Robin
4
3
7
Blackbird
0
1
1
Grasshopper Warbler
2
0
2
Sedge Warbler
55
1
56
Reed Warbler
28
5
33
Whitethroat
1
0
1
Blackcap
4
0
4
Chiffchaff
6
0
6
Willow Warbler
22
1
23
Blue Tit
6
4
10
Great Tit
2
6
8
Chaffinch
4
0
4
Greenfinch
6
2
8
Goldfinch
2
1
3
Siskin
3
0
3
Reed Bunting
3
0
3
Total:
151
30
181

The highlights of the morning were:
  • a day total of 56 sedge warblers - a record for the site. Of these, eight were adults and the remainder juveniles. A number were carrying reasonable fat reserves, suggesting they were feeding up ahead of migration.
  • a good day total of 33 reed warblers, of which only two were adults. Of these adults, one was a control (a bird ringed at another site). More notably, however, the ring bore the words ICONA MADRID. Our first continental control for a couple of years, albeit from a typical location for a species that will pass through the Iberian Peninsula en route to its wintering grounds south of the Sahara.
  • two young grasshopper warblers, taking our total to seven this year.
  • a day count of 23 willow warblers, all but one of which were young birds.
  • three siskins. We have caught 142 different siskins in 2017 to date. What was notable, however, was that two of the birds were in entirely juvenile plumage, indicating that local birds have had a second brood.
Goldfinch numbers seem to have declined of late, possibly due to the variety of food sources available to them. It was a little disappointing not to capture a lesser whitethroat or garden warbler; we are around the right date to capture both for the first time in 2017 based on previous years. However, a session total of 181 birds was a very good return on a day where until a day or so before the weather forecast indicated we might struggle to get any ringing done.

Many thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Olivia Pargeter, Rhodri Jones, Kirsty Franklin, Stephen Vickers, Joanne Conway, Bethan Dalton and Jacques Turner-Moss for company and assistance this morning.

Photographs are below.

Owain Gabb
29/07/2017

Our Spanish control reed warbler was not a looker! It was an adult that was undergoing some small-scale body moult, including of the head feathers.

Reed warbler initially captured in Spain and with a ring marked ICONA MADRID

One of our day total of 56 sedge warblers

Ringing under the 'gazebo'. With  (L-R) Heather Coats, Stephen Vickers, Rhodri Jones, Olivia Pargeter, Wayne Morris and Kirsty Franklin

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