Oxwich Marsh 25 April: return of the Warblers

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Over the course of the week the weather forecast had not remained consistent for more than a few hours, varying between perfect for ringing and borderline unsuitable on a regular basis.  In the event the conditions were not great, with a moderate south-westerly wind for most of the morning.  This resulted in some of the nets billowing, and was likely to have contributed to a lower catch than might otherwise have been expected.  However, after some early showers, the day was dry.

We put nets in scrub and open reed bed habitats.  A total of 560 feet.  46 birds were captured.

The breakdown was as follows:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Great Spotted
0 1 1
Wren 0 1 1
2 1 3
1 0 1
Sedge Warbler 1 0 1
Reed Warbler 0 1 1
Whitethroat 0 1 1
Blackcap 4 0 4
Chiffchaff 0 1 1
Great Tit 0 6 6
Chaffinch 1 7 8
Greenfinch 1 1 2
Goldfinch 3 2 5
Siskin 4 4 8
Reed Bunting 1 2 3
Total: 18 28 46

The highlights of the catch were two new Cetti’s warblers (plus one of the regulars which was re-trapped), a sedge warbler, a grasshopper warbler, a reed warbler and a whitethroat.  Both the whitethroat and reed warbler were re-traps from 2014: the whitethroat was ringed as a juvenile on 20 July; the reed warbler was first captured on 24 April (1 year and 1 day ago).  Neither had been recaptured following initial ringing, and both had therefore been to sub-Saharan Africa since we had seen them for the first and only time.  The capture of the grasshopper warbler was particularly welcome, as we didn’t catch the species in spring 2014. Two were reeling on the marsh this morning.
Reed warbler

Grasshopper warbler

Grasshopper warbler

Drinker moth caterpillar

Thanks to Darren Hicks, Wayne Morris, Charlie Sargent and Heather Coats for company and assistance this morning.

Owain Gabb

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