Monday, 20 November 2017

Oxwich Marsh early November 2017

Unsettled weather has dominated November to date, and looks set to continue. We missed three consecutive weekends of ringing due to wind and / or rain, and only managed sessions during weather windows on 3, 13 and 19 of the month.

Combined totals for 3-19 November are:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Snipe
13
0
13
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1
4
5
Wren
1
5
6
Dunnock
1
7
8
Robin
0
7
7
Blackbird
2
1
3
Song Thrush
0
2
2
Redwing
39
0
39
Cetti's Warbler
4
5
9
Chiffchaff
4
0
4
Goldcrest
6
0
6
Firecrest
1
0
1
Long-tailed Tit
4
0
4
Blue Tit
62
91
153
Great Tit
3
28
31
Treecreeper
0
1
1
Chaffinch
23
3
26
Brambling
2
0
2
Greenfinch
0
1
1
Goldfinch
8
1
9
Lesser Redpoll
2
0
2
Reed Bunting
4
0
4
Total:
180
156
336

Highlights have been as follows:
  • Good numbers of snipe, including 10 on 19 November. We have now captured 48 unique birds this year, and 82 snipe to date at the site. Ageing remains a dark art; a proportion of first winter birds can be aged as such (due to moult limits), but post juvenile moult can involve most of the feather tracts on which ageing is based, and many are indeterminate. We have still not controlled a snipe or recaptured an Oxwich-ringed bird between winters. This suggests the reference population is very large and/or birds are not returning to the same area between winters. Given the numbers present on the marsh during the mid-winter period, the former certainly seems correct. 
  • Thirty-nine redwings, taking our total to 92 for the year. Despite birds being heard over the marsh on 19 November (pre-dawn), they did not come in to a tape. Ninety of the total were captured between 25 October and 3 November inclusive.
  • A good late run of Cetti's warblers. We have recently heard that one of our September 2017 birds was controlled at Morfa Berwig (Carmarthenshire); see Paul Aubrey's blog. The two locations are only approximately 12 km apart, but separated by open moorland around Cefn Bryn and an estuary (the Burry Inlet). This therefore appears to be a deliberate dispersive movement.
  • A firecrest. A first calendar year male on 19 November. This is the latest date (by three days) on which we we have caught the species. Despite reports of record totals on the south coast, it had been looking like the first year in which we failed to capture the species.
  • A notable 153 blue tits. Good birds for extraction practice if not for mental well being. These included individuals ringed in 2013 and 2014, but also large numbers of first calendar year birds, indicating a far more productive year than 2016.
  • A few nice finches. Two lesser redpoll on 3 November, and two brambling (a first year male with several retained greater coverts and a worn pointed tail, and an adult female) on 19 November were all very nice additions to the site year totals. Otherwise finch numbers have been modest of late.
Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Paul Aubrey, Val Wilson, Sarah Davies, Stephen Vickers, Kirsty Franklin, Jo Conway, Alex McCubbin, Martin Thomas, Sophie de Grissac, Edward O'Connor and Ellie Huckle for company and assistance during recent sessions.

Photographs are below.

Owain Gabb
20/11/2017

First winter male brambling (Wayne Morris)

Firecrest (Stephen Vickers)


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