Oxwich Marsh mid-April to mid-May 2022: Reeling in the Summer

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Mid-April to mid-May is typically a quiet period at Oxwich, but one of change, as the winter visitors depart and the summer migrants start to come through. However, with locally-breeding resident species typically on territory, it can be a very good time to collect data on survival and timing of breeding in local birds.

A modest total of 350 birds were captured between 16 April and 14 May inclusive. A full list is provided below:

Species Name Ringed Recaptured Total
Blackbird 8 13 21
Blackcap 7 7
Blue Tit 3 19 22
Bullfinch 1 1 2
Cetti’s Warbler 4 4
Chaffinch 9 5 14
Chiffchaff 5 5
Coal Tit 5 5
Dunnock 1 21 22
Goldfinch 12 19 31
Grasshopper Warbler 6 3 9
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 10 12
Great Tit 28 28
Greenfinch 4 4 8
Jay 2 2
Long-tailed Tit 1 1 2
Marsh Tit 3 3
Meadow Pipit 1 1
Reed Bunting 3 5 8
Reed Warbler 4 3 7
Robin 15 15
Sedge Warbler 2 1 3
Siskin 40 62 102
Song Thrush 1 4 5
Stonechat 1 1
Whitethroat 3 3
Willow Warbler 5 5
Wren 3 3
Grand Total 117 233 350


Highlights included:

  • Our first young blackbirds of the year on 16 April 2022.
  • A five year old blue tit, originally ringed as a youngster in July 2017.
  • A Cetti’s warbler ringed on the marsh in December 2016 that was caught for the 14th time in April. The bird could be sexed as a female based on wing length and weight, but had not developed a brood patch at the time of capture.
  • A female chaffinch initially ringed in May 2017 and breeding locally (based on its well-developed brood patch). It had not be recaptured since May 2018.
  • A goldfinch ringed as a juvenile in June 2016 and recaptured for the first time on 18 April 2022.
  • An excellent spring total of 6 new grasshopper warblers, with the first captured on 16 April. Several seem to be staying around, as reeling birds are a feature of the site at present, and it appears likely we will have more than 1 territory in the ringing area this year. We have now ringed 92 at the marsh since 2014, so a bit of local productivity and a reasonable autumn passage should see us ease past 100 ringed at Oxwich.
  • A female great spotted woodpecker captured for the seventh time since it was initially ringed (as an adult) in August 2017. The bird had a well-developed brood patch.
  • A number of fairly old great tits including one initially ringed at Oxwich as a juvenile in June 2016.
  • Two jays. These were the fourth and fifth individuals to be captured at the marsh since we started ringing at Oxwich in 2013.
  • Our first reed warbler of the year on 18 April; we had to wait until 30 April to catch our first sedge warbler (both species were heard before their capture dates and were both present from around mid-month). Ringing sessions have not coincided with a day of substantial passage of either species yet in 2022.
  • Continued steady numbers of siskin. Our first juveniles of the year were on 8 May. We have now ringed 105 new siskins at Oxwich in 2022 as well as recapturing birds from as far back as April 2017.
  • A song thrush initially ringed in July 2015 and recaptured for the 14th time in May 2022. The bird is a female, and has been recorded breeding on the marsh in five of the subsequent years since ringing (based on brood patch). It has also been captured in October and November, indicating it is locally resident for much or all of the year.
  • Two whitethroats ringed in 2021 that appear to have returned to breed.

Thanks to everyone who has attended sessions at Oxwich during the period: Heather Coates, Wayne Morris, Keith Vaughton, Tom Wright, Colin Baker, Ursula Scuderi, Mel Hill, Jasmine Davies, Miguel Lurgi, Lucy Rowley, Richard Dann, Bethan Dalton, Becky Gibbs, Andrew Bevan, Jo Conway, Sarah Davies and Dionne Jenkins.

Thanks to Tom and Richard for photos (below)

Owain Gabb


Grasshopper warbler. A typical-looking bird
An unusually dark grasshopper warbler. Very yellowish-buff below
One of our returning whitethroats
A recently-fledged siskin
The first reed warbler of the year
An unexpected meadow pipit caught among scrub
One of the two jays captured during the period
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