Oxwich Marsh mid-August: shocking weather is just not cricket

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A frustrating couple of weeks of consistent unsettled (and often very windy / rainy) weather, some of which has been courtesy of Storm Ellen. Just what you don’t need after an unplanned break of four months, and in one of the best months of the year for juvenile / dispersing birds! A south-west coastal site has lots of benefits, but settled weather is not one of them.

We tried to work around conditions as best we could, setting very limited nets in the more sheltered locations at Oxwich on two dates. The results were as follow:

Species Name Ringed Recaptured Total
Blackbird 3 3
Blue Tit 13 6 19
Chaffinch 4 4
Chiffchaff 1 1
Dunnock 1 1 2
Goldfinch 16 1 17
Grasshopper Warbler 1 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 1
Great Tit 5 3 8
Greenfinch 10 10
Reed Bunting 1 1
Reed Warbler 8 2 10
Robin 3 3
Sedge Warbler 8 8
Siskin 6 1 7
Tree Pipit 1 1
Whitethroat 1 1
Wren 3 1 4
Grand Total 86 15 101


The avian highlights were an adult grasshopper warbler and a young tree pipit, both on 15 August. The tree pipit showed very limited post juvenile moult of wing feathers – with only the lesser coverts replaced. A sedge warbler with a fat score of 7 (fat covering in excess of 3/4 of the breast muscle) was nice to see on 23 August. Another major plus is that there remains no obvious sign of trichomonosis in local finch populations; it would be great to see this continue over the coming months.

The only benefits of the poor weather, and the resulting low catches, were a little more time to talk and tinker with rides (replacing old guys and driving in some new posts to tie them to), and to look at other species including reptiles (we recorded a number of grass snake and a few common lizard under / on our mats), and on 23 August, a male oak bush cricket Meconema thalassinum.

Photos are below.

Owain Gabb



Grasshopper warbler. Only our second of the year due to Covid-19


The lack of birds meant we had a bit of time on our hands …… Cardiff CB take on Neath Port Talbot in the final of the tug of war competition.


Oak bush cricket



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