Ideal conditions in the marsh: overcast, warm and virtually windless first thing. The wind began to pick up from the east a couple of hours after dawn, and we took the nets down at 11:30.
Due to limited personnel (and kit), we only put up nets in the fen meadow and in the scrub. These areas had proved productive during the previous session, whereas the reed bed had not. The catch of 65 was slow and steady. It was made up of the following:
|Great Spotted Woodpecker||1||0||1|
The features of the catch were our first new great spotted woodpecker for some time (we had been regularly catching ringed birds), the nine chiffchaffs and four reed buntings. The latter provided an opportunity to have a look at fresh adult plumage, including tail shape, colouration of feathering in the wing, and the edging of the greater coverts in comparison with juvenile birds. Long distance migrants were notable by their absence, with a single whitethroat trapped, but no reed, sedge or willow warblers. The whitethroat was carrying a considerable amount of fat (score of 6).
Blackcap numbers were also down in comparison with recent sessions. However further east along the Welsh coast large numbers were apparently caught by the Cardiff Ringing Group. The next few sessions will establish whether this was an anomaly.
We also caught a bullfinch. This bird was still in the middle of its post juvenile moult, but was clearly a male.
|Young male bullfinch|
A ropey-looking bird! As well as the changing head, where some remnant brown, juvenile feathering can be seen alongside the red adult-type feathers, retained greater coverts can be seen in the wing. If the bird does not moult any more coverts, this feature can be used for ageing throughout the winter.
The running total of birds to date at Oxwich (2014) is below:
The two aims by year end are increasing the overall total of new birds to in excess of 3000, an excellent effort for the site for the calendar year, and capturing a couple more species (we currently stand at 41 in 2014) to set a good benchmark for 2015.
Thanks to Charlie Sargent and Keith Vaughton for their company and assistance.