Oxwich Marsh 30 November & 1 December

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Some nice settled weather with very low wind speed lured us into going out on successive days.  On both we deployed limited net: a few 60 foot nets in the fen meadow and a couple of additional 60’s in some partially inundated rushy pasture. 
The recent mild weather has seen bird numbers trapped on the marsh decline substantially.  However, over the two visits we trapped 88.  The breakdown was as follows:

Species New Re-trapped Total
Snipe 4 0 4
Meadow Pipit 2 0 2
Wren 1 2 3
Dunnock 0 2 2
Robin 0 4 4
Redwing 4 0 4
0 2 2
Chiffchaff 4 0 4
Goldcrest 1 0 1
Blue Tit 12 11 23
Great Tit 1 3 4
Chaffinch 5 1 6
Greenfinch 3 2 5
Goldfinch 8 14 22
Reed Bunting 2 0 2
Total: 47 41 88
The highlights of the catch were another 4 snipe (we are gradually building a respectable total), four of both redwing and chiffchaff and two new reed bunting.  Twelve blue tit sounds a reasonable amount, but in the equivalent session last year we caught 56.  It must have been fairly traumatic, and I have erased the memory from my mind!
We have now caught 10 snipe and 1 jack snipe.  In 2013 63 and 24 of these species were trapped in Wales respectively, so the totals are reasonable (and will look fairly good in Welsh terms if we continue catching in December).  Some initial advice on the basis of a lot of hard work is: look for how snipe use of an area changes over short periods of time (i.e. a few rainy weeks) and respond to it (particularly minor changes in water levels – watch how they move into / favour different areas), and get your nets up well before dawn as you won’t generally catch many after the first round. 
A few pictures takes by Charlie Sargent and new trainee Darren Hicks are below.  Not many trainees must ring a snipe three weeks after starting off!
Thanks to Darren Hicks, Heather Coats, Emma Cole and Charlie Sargent for company, assistance and hard work.

Owain Gabb

A first snipe for Darren (photo Darren Hicks)

The 10th snipe of 2014 (Charlie Sargent)

Redwing (Charlie Sargent)

Chaffinch (Charlie Sargent)

Meadow pipit (Charlie Sargent)

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