Oxwich Marsh 15 November 2014

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The forecast was for a light south-easterly wind.  Unfortunately the wind was nearer moderate and fairly gusty, but at least there was no real sign of rain.  The wind clearly limited the catch: the goldfinches around the feeders were very aware of the nets, and our attempts to catch snipe seemed fairly optimistic.   It had been almost a year to the day since we caught our first local scarcity at the marsh, a firecrest, however, so there was some cause for optimism.
The catch was as follows:
New Birds Re-traps Total
Snipe 1 0 1
Wren 0 1 1
Dunnock 0 2 2
Blackbird 0 1 1
Blackcap 2 0 2
Chiffchaff 2 0 2
Goldcrest 2 0 2
1 1 2
Blue Tit 4 7 11
Great Tit 1 2 3
Chaffinch 1 0 1
Greenfinch 1 0 1
Goldfinch 3 1 4
Total: 18 15 33
We did manage to capture one snipe.  A bird flew into the nets just after we set up.  In my rush to get to the nets to extract it I fell in a ditch, going up to my neck in icy water.  The bird was a first winter.
Other features of the catch were two blackcaps, two chiffchaffs and two more goldcrests (we are now approaching 70 goldcrests trapped on the marsh this year). 
One of the chiffchaffs was a strikingly pale Siberian-type (tristis) bird slightly reminiscent of a Bonelli’s warbler.  It had very pale underparts, with no yellow on the flanks or throat, was grey brown on the head and back and only showed any green on the flight feathers.  There was a very obvious broad supercilium that extended well past the eye.  A picture of the bird, alongside a more typical chiffchaff, is below.
Siberian chiffchaff (left) and more typical collybita
So, in summary, another good but quiet session with a few highlights.  Not in the same league as Charlie Sargent’s efforts the day before, when he trapped two great grey shrikes on his new site in Carmarthenshire.  An account is here: http://birdringers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/fygyn-common-new-site-new-nets-new.html
Thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Heather Coats, Charlie Sargent, Wayne Morris, Emma Cole and Phil Mead for company and assistance this morning.  Also particular thanks to Darren Hicks for keeping the feeders filled this week while I have been working away.
Owain Gabb
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