Oxwich Marsh: first fledgling Cetti’s warbler of the year and June round-up

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The final session of the month was completed on 26 June.  The westerly wind gradually strengthened over the morning, but the weather remained dry and was relatively overcast for much of the time. We initially put nets in the scrub (which is the most sheltered area), fen meadow and reedbed, but all but the scrub nets were taken down by 10:30 (nets were all up by 05:55 – a total of 600 feet) in response to the increasingly gusty wind.
The session resulted in 122 birds being trapped.  The highlights were the first juvenile Cetti’s warbler of the year, a handful of siskins among continued good numbers of finches, a few reed and sedge warblers (all adults), chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps.  The totals for June are below:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Great Spotted
10 8 18
Wren 2 3 5
Dunnock 8 9 17
Robin 6 3 9
Blackbird 2 4 6
Song Thrush 4 2 6
1 2 3
Sedge Warbler 3 4 7
Reed Warbler 4 1 5
Whitethroat 3 1 4
Blackcap 14 0 14
Chiffchaff 10 0 10
Willow Warbler 3 0 3
1 0 1
Blue Tit 29 18 47
Great Tit 28 14 42
Treecreeper 1 0 1
Chaffinch 28 11 39
Greenfinch 21 3 24
Goldfinch 77 26 103
Siskin 8 1 9
Bullfinch 1 0 1
Reed Bunting 7 2 9
Total: 271 112 383

Of interest have been 11 unique great spotted woodpeckers, including 10 on 20th June alone (mostly fledglings with some re-trapped adults from 2014), and evidence of locally successful breeding in song thrush, Cetti’s warbler, whitethroat, blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler, treecreeper and reed bunting (as well as a range of more ubiquitous species).  As is typical of June, there have been few surprises in the catch, but the numbers of goldfinch in particular have been excellent – we could now do with one of our birds being controlled.
It is always difficult juggling CES and RAS commitments, which are the priority, with visits to Oxwich in the late spring and summer, and the site also needs regular maintenance.  Thanks to everyone for their efforts this month.  In particular Keith Vaughton and Darren Hicks for keeping the feeders filled during periods when I have been away, to Charlie Sargent for keeping the ringing ride vegetation under control, and to Wayne Morris and Keith for helping carry a heavy ‘bridge’ half way across the marsh and into the reedbed yesterday.  Also to Val Wilson for scribing and to all who have attended sessions.
Few photos from recent sessions, as we have been very busy and the catch has had few ‘features.’  A couple of shots are below:

A recently fledged blackcap.
Brown-headed blackcaps cannot  generally be sexed in the field (or juveniles in the hand) at this time of year.  With exceptionally good views (indicating a bird was in main moult or had considerable feather wear) it would be possible to confirm an adult female.  However recent fledglings of both sexes have brown heads.

The first fledged whitethroat of 2015 (26 June)
A humming bird hawkmoth nectaring (taken during a recent trip to France).
Owain Gabb
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