Oxwich Marsh 2 July 2021: an aged blackcap, a marsh tit and moths

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An unsettled forecast for the weekend led to a Friday session being planned.

Weather conditions for the first few hours of the day were excellent, with very little wind and fairly overcast skies. We put up a moderate amount of net, as we had a small and less experienced team than usual present.

Totals were as follows:

The highlights of the day were:

  • A blackcap ringed in April 2015 and recaptured for the first time. It was aged as a second calendar year bird when initially captured, so fledged in 2014. The oldest blackcaps typically recaptured in the UK each year are 8-9 years old, so we are not pushing a longevity record.
  • A marsh tit. The bird was a youngster in post juvenile moult. This was the first marsh tit to be captured since July 2018 at Oxwich. While they are common in the ancient semi-natural woodland that wraps around the edges of the marsh, they rarely move through it. They occur most regularly in July, when juveniles occasionally disperse through the reed bed. These ringed birds sometimes stick around to take advantage of the food source provided by the on site feeders, and are recaptured regularly until they move on.
  • Our first young bullfinch and wren of the year,
  • Our first relatively busy day on sedge warblers. While there was no evidence of sedge warblers building up fat ahead of migration, it was clear based on the number of both adults and juveniles captured that birds were moving around more in the marsh.

Non-ringing records included several whimbrel heard calling from the direction of the beach (and signalling autumn passage), a young grass snake under one of our reptile mats, and a good range of moths. These latter included brown china mark, buff arches, elephant hawk moth, Brussels lace, bordered white, and the ever popular buff-tip.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Val Wilson, Richard Dann, Tom Wright and Ezra Sherwell for company and assistance.

Photos by Tom and Richard are below.

Owain Gabb

03/07/2021

The first marsh tit since 2018
A young sedge warbler
Our first young bullfinch of the year

 

Buff arches
The cryptic buff-tip moth
Bordered white

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