Saturday, 14 October 2017

Oxwich Marsh late September & early October

The lack of a recent blog post reflects limited activity during what has been a fairly disrupted period of weather. A  predominantly south-westerly airflow has resulted in no large falls of birds, and conditions have often been fairly poor for ringing. 

Nevertheless, over the period we have managed to process 341 birds of 25 species. These have been as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Jack Snipe
2
0
2
Snipe
7
0
7
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2
4
6
Swallow
181
0
181
Meadow Pipit
14
0
14
Grey Wagtail
3
0
3
Pied/White Wagtail
5
0
5
Wren
8
6
14
Dunnock
5
8
13
Robin
3
6
9
Stonechat
1
0
1
Blackbird
0
1
1
Song Thrush
4
0
4
Cetti's Warbler
5
5
10
Reed Warbler
2
0
2
Blackcap
2
0
2
Chiffchaff
8
0
8
Goldcrest
10
0
10
Coal Tit
1
0
1
Blue Tit
13
9
22
Great Tit
5
3
8
Chaffinch
0
1
1
Greenfinch
3
0
3
Goldfinch
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
8
4
12
Total:
294
47
341

The highlights have been:

  • Jack snipe on 8 and 12 October. These birds were both captured close to the South Pond. They both had wing lengths of 113 mm and weighed 49 and 55 g respectively.
  • Seven common snipe, all in early October. Captured in the same area as the jack snipe, these birds had wing lengths of 131-142 mm and weighed between 93 g and 111 g. Over the past few years we have ringed 63 snipe at the marsh. Their weights have varied considerably (between 83 g and 153 g), but all birds have weighed more than the heaviest of our 26 jack snipe (range 48 g to 75 g). 
  • A couple of new great spotted woodpeckers. Normally we expect to ring our woodpeckers in June and July, when juveniles are visiting the feeders, but these birds were captured at a time when visible movement of woodpeckers had been reported at Rhossili. It will be interesting to see if they are recaptured.
  • A reasonable late catch of swallows - 114 on 24 September - with small numbers on other dates. Over 100 were present close to the South Pond on 8 October.
  • Three grey wagtails. The fact that wagtails can be tape lured into a triangle of nets set for pipits is something we can build on during the passage period next year.
  • Only two reed warblers. The latest of these was on 24 September. In previous years we have captured birds well into October (in very small numbers), while in 2016 a bird remained until 19 November. 

We have managed to interest a few skylarks in a tape, but nothing has come low enough to be captured.

Otherwise it has been standard autumn fair. A few Cetti's warblers carrying fat probably indicates a degree of autumn dispersal, a coal tit may have been a migrant as they are scarce on the marsh and have been reported moving, and the numbers of reed bunting on site has visibly / audibly increased. We await an influx of goldcrests, the weather prevented a session during a period a week or two ago when firecrests were passing through in number, and the first redwing seem to have been delayed by the westerly winds.

Thanks to all who have made it out during the period: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Emma Cole, Val Wilson, Paul Aubrey, Lynn Watts, Kirsty Franklin, Stephen Vickers, Chris Newberry, Martin Thomas, Jo Conway, Bethan Dalton, Alex McCubbin, Edward O'Connor and Sophie de Grissac.

Some photos are below

Owain Gabb
14/10/2017

One of the first snipe of the autumn. Photo Kirsty Franklin.

Jack snipe (left) and common snipe (right). Photo Kirsty Franklin.

When it is quiet we try a tape for meadow pipits. They tend to respond immediately when moving. Photo Stephen Vickers

2 comments:

  1. Hiya any chance we could see photos of the underwings of the common snipe captured I would be interested to see the variation, also have you trapped any u consider as Faeroeensis? If so any shots of there underwing, thanks

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  2. Hello Ed. We will try and get some photos over the winter to show the variation. We typically capture snipe just before dawn. The light can therefore be an issue in taking useful photos. We do have variation in colour, with occasional rufous individuals that could be faroensis. Often, unless there are two birds though, it is difficult to assess colour and other features such as the width of the stripes on the back. Are you aware of any other plumage traits that can be assessed?

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