Oxwich Marsh 4 May 2015: the season so far ….

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Another breezy morning, at least for the first few hours.  Again, this seems likely to have limited the catch, which was dominated by re-captured birds with a few migrant warblers thrown in.  A total of 45 (once a couple of same day re-traps had been expunged from the record).
The year to date has seemed slow, and this led me to review the total of unique birds for the period, and to compare the species totals with the same period in 2014.  The breakdown for the year(s) to date is as follows:

Species Total (2015) Total (2014)
Jack Snipe 1 0
Snipe 2 0
Kingfisher 0 1
1 0
Great Spotted
4 4
Swallow 1 0
Wren 11 12
Dunnock 19 11
Robin 15 6
Stonechat 0 2
Blackbird 5 1
Song Thrush 1 0
7 5
1 1
Sedge Warbler 3 4
Reed Warbler 2 5
Whitethroat 1 0
Blackcap 14 8
Wood warbler 0 1
Chiffchaff 7 7
Willow Warbler 2 8
Goldcrest 6 3
10 0
Coal tit 0 2
Blue Tit 124 123
Great Tit 44 35
Treecreeper 1 0
Magpie 1 0
Chaffinch 99 52
Greenfinch 104 153
Goldfinch 162 181
Siskin 15 53
Lesser Redpoll 1 0
Bullfinch 8 4
Reed Bunting 30 82
TOTAL 702 765

Some interesting results.  A poor April (windy for much of the month) saw us fall behind 2014 totals.  Extra net rides, and trying different areas of the marsh has resulted in a few more species in 2015, but overall numbers are considerably down on 2014 given the fact that we have managed at least five more sessions so far than we did in the equivalent period last year.

Some of the differences within the numbers of individual species are marked: reed bunting numbers are well down (possibly due to a lack of ground baiting); greenfinch and goldfinch are down – but this may be simply due to the windy April and the lack of a couple of big sessions late in the month; siskin numbers are down (although they are breeding locally in small numbers there has not been a flock of passage birds around); and, for whatever reason, chaffinch numbers are well up. 

We have not really had an unexpected bird this year to date.  Jack snipe and green woodpecker are probably the closest, but we know they occur on the marsh with regularity during the winter / throughout the year respectively, with catching them being the challenge.  This time last year we had just caught our one and only wood warbler during an otherwise unremarkable session!  Highlights of today were two new sedge and one new reed warbler.

Photos from the marsh are below:
Grasshopper warbler reeling.  There seems to be a territory on the marsh this year.

Cuckoo flower (Lady’s smock)

A fairly brown-looking willow warbler
Thanks to all for company and assistance today.
Owain Gabb
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