Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Oxwich Marsh 25 March 2018: interesting recaptures

A steady morning in a light to moderate north-easterly wind.

The catch was as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Dunnock
1
3
4
Siskin
6
5
11
Chaffinch
7
1
8
Great Tit

4
4
Blue Tit
2
6
8
Goldfinch
5

5
Great Spotted Woodpecker
1

1
Reed Bunting
2

2
Brambling
1

1
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Snipe
3
1
4
Grand Total
29
20
49

The day started well. Some extra effort spent putting up some nets in the hours before dawn returned four common and one jack snipe. One of the common snipe had been ringed on site in early February, so appears to have been resident on the marsh for the past couple of months. The jack snipe was our fifth of the year (and the 31st ringed at the site), while the three new common snipe took us to 24 of that species in 2018 (and 113 overall).

Our 20th brambling of the 2017/18 winter (a female), but not our 21st, as a second female captured had developed Fringilla papillomavirus. Apart from a developing growth on one foot, the bird appeared otherwise healthy, but was released without being ringed.

Another bird of interest was a great spotted woodpecker. Despite having ringed 70 individual great spots at the marsh since December 2013, it was of no great surprise this was an unringed bird. Other than in June, when we tend to capture and ring the juveniles of the year, most of the other new woodpeckers are ringed in mid to late winter. A working theory is that they travel further in search of food at this time, but this is speculative.

Otherwise, the feature of the visit was a steady run of finches, some of which were carrying reasonable fat deposits (scores of 4 and 5 using the BWG system).

A few recent recoveries:
  • A Cetti's warbler ringed at Oxwich in September 2017 was recovered at Morfa Berwig, approximately 12 km to the north north-west by Paul Aubrey two months later. 
  • A great tit ringed in Langland, Swansea, in Autumn 2017 by Keith Vaughton was recovered at Oxwich in February 2018, a westerly movement of 11 km. This is reasonably notable for a great tit, as the species is fairly sedentary.
  • A dunnock ringed at Ivybridge, Devon in July 2015 and recovered at Oxwich in February 2018; a northerly movement of 135 km.

Thanks to the team of Wayne Morris, Jo Conway, Bethan Dalton, Richard Dann, Sarah Davies, Alex McCubbin and Edward O'Connor.

Owain Gabb
27/03/2018

Female great spotted woodpecker (Richard Dann)

Brambling number 20 of the winter (a second calendar year female) (Richard Dann)
Goldfinch (Richard Dann)

Adult male siskin (showing broad, unworn tail, fresh tertials and uniform wing coverts) (Richard Dann)

Male siskin (Bethan Dalton)

Male chaffinch (Bethan Dalton)

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