Oxwich Marsh 14 February 2015: the fiftieth species

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Following a few quiet sessions, today saw a return to form (in terms of numbers). 

The weather was good, with a light north westerly breeze and overcast skies.  It was noticeable  that there were flocks of chaffinches and goldfinches in the area.  These had been less in evidence in recent weeks.
We put up three sixty foot nets in the fen meadow (where catches have been fairly woeful of late (a green woodpecker excepted)) and two sixty and one forty foot net in the scrub, where we have bird feeders.
The results were much improved.  Sixty-one birds was by far the best session of the year to date.  The features of the catch were 22 goldfinches, of which 14 were new birds, four reed bunting and a lesser redpoll.  The lesser redpoll was the fiftieth species to be ringed on the marsh since February 2013, when ringing re-commenced at the site. 

A breakdown of the catch is as follows:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Wren 0 1 1
Blackbird 0 1 1
Goldcrest 1 0 1
0 7 7
Blue Tit 4 4 8
Great Tit 2 2 4
Chaffinch 6 1 7
Greenfinch 5 0 5
Goldfinch 14 8 22
Lesser Redpoll 1 0 1
Reed Bunting 1 3 4
Total: 34 27 61

The lesser redpoll was an adult male.  The tail feathers, although pointed, were broad and showed very little wear, and there was no evidence of a moult limit in the wing.  These features suggested an adult.  The bird showed considerable pink on the upper breast and a large red spot on the forehead.  A picture, taken by Keith Vaughton, is below.

Lesser redpoll
Other species around the marsh included some redwing, which we failed to catch as they emerged from wet woodland (where they had assumedly roosted) just after dawn, 40+ snipe, a woodcock, flushed from next to a net ride, and a few little egrets, which were noted roosting near the North Pond with grey herons.
A pleasant session.  Thanks to Darren Hicks, Charlie Sargent and Keith Vaughton for company and assistance.

Owain Gabb

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