Our first chance to get out as a reasonably large group since the latest lockdown coincided with the tail end of some cold but bright and relatively windless weather.
April and May ringing sessions at Oxwich can be fairly quiet, so the day total (same day retraps excluded) of 134 birds of 23 species was a solid start. The breakdown was as follows:
The highlights included:
- An excellent day total of 58 siskin, including numerous juvenile birds. These were the only fledglings of the session. We catch two or three distinct cohorts of young siskins each year at Oxwich. The birds also included a good number of siskins initially ringed in 2020 and 2019.
- Our first two grasshopper warblers of the year. Birds have been heard reeling on the marsh for at least ten days now. Frequently recaptures over the season indicate some birds captured in April and early May remain to breed; hopefully that will be the case with these. Neither showed any indication of a cloacal protrusion or brood patch, however, so they couldn’t be sexed.
- Our first other reedbed warblers. A total of six sedge warblers including three returning birds from 2020 and 2019,were captured. We also ringed our first two reed warblers.
- Other long distance migrants included several willow warblers and two whitethroats, one of which showed a nice pink flush to the upper breast, indicating it was a male.
- An adult male chaffinch initially ringed in July 2017 as a recent fledgling.
- A woodpigeon. Only our second for the site since we started in 2013. An adult with a brood patch. The bird was captured by the feeders, and was presumably the same individual seen escaping a little while beforehand. Its hoovering activity is likely to be partly responsible for the current rapid emptying of the feeders!
The day felt relatively slow and steady, with fairly even rates of capture over the morning. We split the team into three small groups to allow us to maintain reasonable distancing / avoid any crowding around the tables. This seemed to work well.
Thanks to all who made it along: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Jo Conway, Richard Dann, Alex McCubbin, Val Wilson, Amy Schwartz, Dionne Jenkins, Bethan Dalton, Kate Hammond and Gareth Bowen-Llewelyn.
Photos, taken by Richard. Alex and Amy (the final three), are below