Oxwich Marsh 3 July 2022: juvenile behaviour

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Our first session in a while due to a run of poor weekend weather. A light north-westerly wind increased over the morning, with nets in the open marsh starting to come down by 07:30. After a few good early rounds our focus therefore changed to the feeders.

It was a solid session with good numbers of young birds. The catch of 118 broke down as follows:

Species Name Ringed Recaptured Total
Blackbird 1 1
Blackcap 8 8
Blue Tit 11 11
Bullfinch 2 2
Cetti’s Warbler 2 1 3
Chaffinch 6 1 7
Chiffchaff 3 3
Dunnock 8 1 9
Goldfinch 8 2 10
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 2
Great Tit 15 15
Greenfinch 2 2
Reed Bunting 2 2
Reed Warbler 22 22
Robin 2 1 3
Sedge Warbler 3 1 4
Siskin 4 2 6
Song Thrush 1 1
Whitethroat 1 1 2
Willow Warbler 2 2
Wren 4 4
Grand Total 108 11 119


Highlights were:

  • Our first juvenile bullfinch, Cetti’s warbler, reed warbler, reed bunting and wren of the year.
  • A good day catch of reed warblers. These were mostly young birds.

Despite plenty of siskins calling over the marsh, we only captured six birds, of which two were recaptures from 2021. A grasshopper warbler was reeling before dawn, and periodically during the morning, and a small swallow roost has started to form. Young toads were dispersing in numbers, and a grass snake was recorded under a reptile mat (7 animals had been recorded on 2 July including 5 under one tin).

Less welcome news is that badgers are regularly attacking our metal seed bin. Tracks and latrines are very apparent. An arms race is currently underway; the badgers are turning the bin over but currently seem stumped by the bungees holding the lid on.

A small team reflected the fact that some of our number were on Flatholm ringing gull pulli (and rock pipits), we also have a team of five on Skokholm under the supervision of Richard Dobbins of Teifi Ringing Group and the island wardens, and there is Covid in the ranks.

Thanks to the small team of Heather Coats, Wayne Morris, Richard Dann, Andrew Bevan and Miguel Lurgi for company and assistance this morning. Photos (by Richard) follow.

Owain Gabb


The warm tones of a young reed warbler. Adults typically look washed out and worn at this time of year
Our first young Cetti’s warbler of 2022
A dispersing toadlet
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