Oxwich Marsh 23 May 2015: a Gower Society Grant and a Grasshopper Warbler

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The highlight of the week was news that our grant application to the Gower Society had been successful.  We had been hopeful that the Society would be willing to help support ringing effort on the marsh, as they support various conservation projects in the area.  The grant will carry us through the rest of the year, and into 2016, and will cover the cost of rings and seed for the feeders.  Brilliant news for the Group.
Another positive was that the weather was good, as recent sessions have been few and far between due to persistent moderate winds and spells of showery weather.
The catch of 71 birds (20 species) was as follows:
Species New Re-trapped Total
Great Spotted
1 2 3
Wren 1 1 2
Dunnock 0 3 3
Robin 2 1 3
Blackbird 1 2 3
Song Thrush 1 0 1
0 1 1
0 1 1
Sedge Warbler 2 1 3
Reed Warbler 3 1 4
Whitethroat 1 0 1
Blackcap 1 0 1
1 0 1
Blue Tit 1 3 4
Great Tit 2 3 5
Chaffinch 0 2 2
Greenfinch 3 4 7
Goldfinch 5 4 9
Siskin 10 3 13
Reed Bunting 2 2 4
Total: 37 34 71
The most welcome aspects of the catch were the first juvenile robins, siskins and long-tailed tit of the year, re-trapping a sedge warbler from 2014 and a reed warbler first ringed in 2013, and proof that grasshopper warbler is holding territory on the marsh in 2015.
Evidence that grasshopper warbler is at least trying to breed was provided when a bird first ringed just over a month ago was recaptured.  The fact that it is still present on the marsh, and had a clear cloacal protrusion both suggest it is likely to be breeding.  At the least it is reasonable to assume it is holding territory.  No clear evidence of grasshopper warbler holding territory on the site was gained in 2013 or 2014, although the site is used by passage birds from the second week of April into May on an annual basis.
Locally breeding siskin, for the second successive year, is also good news.  We captured seven juveniles among the day-total of 13.  The adults included a bird first ringed in Somerset (we know this as we have captured it on several occasions and have received information form the British Trust for Ornithology).  Based on last year, we will have siskins for a few more weeks, and then probably won’t see them again in the nets until March 2016.
Many thanks to Valerie Wilson, Keith Vaughton, Charlie Sargent, Heather Coats and Emma Cole for company and assistance this morning.
More information about the Gower Society can be found here: http://www.thegowersociety.org.uk/
Some photographs are below.
Owain Gabb
Male grasshopper warbler.  The first confirmation of a territory on the marsh in the last few years

Recently fledged siskin

Recently fledged siskin, showing broad creamy yellow fringes to the tertials and greater coverts
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