Oxwich Marsh 16 August 2014: willow warblers, whitethroats and blackcaps

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A bright start to the day, and few birds in the first few nets rounds didn’t bode well, especially as the wind was forecast to pick up from the west late morning.  However, by around 08:00 it clouded over, and in contrast to previous sessions the number of birds per round increased and remained steady until around 10:30.  The wind then picked up, and we took the nets down from 11:20 onwards.

In total we erected 520 feet of net.
The catch of 94 birds was made up of the following: 

Species New Re-trapped Total
Wren 2 1 3
Dunnock 3 1 4
Robin 3 1 4
Blackbird 3 1 4
1 0 1
Sedge Warbler 4 0 4
Reed Warbler 13 0 13
Whitethroat 9 0 9
Garden Warbler 3 1 4
Blackcap 17 0 17
Willow Warbler 14 0 14
3 0 3
Blue Tit 6 2 8
Great Tit 0 3 3
Chaffinch 2 0 2
Bullfinch 0 1 1
Total: 83 11 94

The main features were the good numbers of willow warbler and blackcap, another three new garden warblers (plus a recaptured bird that had stayed on the marsh for at least 9 days), taking the annual total to 12 individuals, a Cetti’s warbler and 13 reed warblers.
However, the number of sedge warblers in particular was low, with only 4 trapped (41 were trapped on 7 August). 
In contrast with recent weeks, very few birds were carrying significant fat (the maximum fat score was 4 – recorded in two whitethroats and a reed warbler), indicating that recent wet and windy weather may have affected body condition.  Most birds were juveniles including all but two of the blackcaps and all but one of the willow warblers.

Juvenile garden warbler

Thanks to Cedwyn Davies, Heather Coats, Wayne Morris, Keith Vaughton and Gail Cobbold for company and assistance this morning – particularly to Gail for acting as scribe.

Owain Gabb

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