Oxwich Marsh Bird Ringing July & early August: birds eclipsed by lunar hornet

with No Comments

A reasonably settled July followed by a spell of very unsettled weather in early August. The latter has proven extremely frustrating, as it can be such a good time at Oxwich.

Collated species totals for the period are as follows:

Species Name
Ringed
Recapt
Total
Blackbird
6
11
17
Blackcap
31
6
37
Blue Tit
58
70
128
Bullfinch
6
6
Cetti’s Warbler
7
3
10
Chaffinch
33
11
44
Chiffchaff
19
19
Dunnock
8
15
23
Garden Warbler
2
2
Goldfinch
35
8
43
Grasshopper Warbler
1
1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2
20
22
Great Tit
21
36
57
Greenfinch
77
6
83
Long-tailed Tit
3
2
5
Pied/White Wagtail
3
3
Reed Bunting
12
10
22
Reed Warbler
66
22
88
Robin
7
10
17
Sand Martin
3
3
Sedge Warbler
63
14
77
Siskin
20
15
35
Song Thrush
2
2
Sparrowhawk
1
1
Stonechat
4
4
Swallow
199
1
200
Treecreeper
2
1
3
Whitethroat
6
6
Willow Warbler
26
3
29
Wren
16
2
18
Grand Total
737
268
1005

Highlights have been:

  • A sparrowhawk.Our second of the year.
  • A French (Paris) ringed sedge warbler. We await details.
  • Proving breeding in grasshopper warbler, with a (very) juvenile bird captured. This adds to the captures of females with brood patches, a male with a cloacal protrusion, and regular reeling birds over the spring and early summer. 
  • Our first garden warblers. Our initial autumn capture of the species is usually in the last week of July; a bird on 26 July was therefore not unexpected. Further captures of the species have been frustrated by the weather, and we only have two to date.
  • A good morning capture of 130 swallows emerging from the marsh, followed by an evening roost session during which 70 birds were captured a week or so later. One recaptured swallow from 2018 and a few sand martins were welcome.
  • Our first few white / pied wagtails of the year. There is no evidence of a large roost yet.
  • A siskin ringed at Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, in May 2019 that has taken up residence, and has been captured in both July and August.
The sparrowhawk’s arrival in the net nearest the feeder was greeted by a variety of alarm calls, and an exodus of passerines. An initial assessment on approach suggested it was a young male bird. It appeared small and was contained entirely within a net shelf approximately 1 m above ground.
At the ringing table the sex was rapidly confirmed as a male: The wing of 194 mm was towards the bottom end of the male range (188-212 mm); a female has a longer wing (222-256 mm). There is no between-sex overlap. Other biometric differences are in the tarsus and bill; again the female is longer and there is no overlap with the smaller male (Baker, 2016).
Other wildlife on the marsh included a lunar hornet clearwing Sesia bembeciformis, captured in a mist net on 13 July, return passage whimbrel and a variety of different sizes of grass snakes under our reptile mats. The lunar hornet clearwing is a striking and rare species in Glamorgan, with less than 20 records, some of which are historical (Gilmore, Slade & Stewart, 2014).

Thanks to all who have attended over the period: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Val Wilson, Joanne Conway, Emma Cole, Sarah Davies, Bethan Dalton, Alex McCubbin, Richard Dann, Amy Schwartz, Dionne Jenkins, Martin Thomas, Colin Baker, Miguel Lurgi, Cassian Wigley and Lucy Rowley.

Owain Gabb
16/08/2019

Lunar hornet moth (clearwing)

Lunar hornet moth

The more subtle beauty of a garden warbler

Adult swallow (Richard Dann)

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of