Sunday, 28 June 2015

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

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 Woodpecker 10 8 18
Wren 2 3 5
Dunnock 8 9 17
Robin 6 3 9
Blackbird 2 4 6
Song Thrush 4 2 6
Cetti's Warbler 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
Long-tailed Tit 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
28/06/2015

Saturday, 27 June 2015

WWT Llanelli CES6 25/06/15

CES6, half way through the season. Today it was generally over cast with light wind which did start to pocket the nets a little in the last hour of the session.

The total birds caught was 22 across 12 species, but it was a session of juveniles.


Species
New
New 3J
Re-trap
Total
Robin

2

2
Blackbird
1
1
1
3
Cettis Warbler


1
1
Wren

3

3
Blackcap
2
1

3
Chiffchaff

1
1
2
Whitethroat

1

1
Blue tit
1


1
Bullfinch

1

1
Goldcrest

1

1
Treecreeper
1
2

3
Dunnock

1

1
Totals
5
14
3
22



Juvenile Blackcap. All juveniles have the brown head and cannot be sexed until post juvenile moult starts.


One of the star birds today was the capture of this juvenile Whitethroat. On CES5 we also caught one, and prior to that it was 2011 when the last juvenile was caught. This, as well as the rest of the juveniles in the chart is an excellent indicator that these birds are breeding locally somewhere on the site.


This Chiffchaff was the re-trap,  originally caught on CES1 on the 4th May and aged as a bird born last year. The Chiffchaff below was this years juvenile and is a very green/yellow in colour.



The biggest surprise of the day was the capture of this adult Treecreeper (in the middle) and two of its juveniles all caught together at the same time a few feet apart. It was very noticeable how long the beak was of the adult compared to its young. Having young and adults together gave us the opportunity to examine the differences in plumage of both ages which also helps our trainees better understand these differences.


The re-trap Blackbird was originally caught as a 3J on the 10th July 2009 which makes it 6 years old. The typical lifespan of a Blackbird is 3 years and the oldest recorded bird is 14 years 2 months and 1 day. Our bird has a way to go yet.

Todays session was run by Heather Coats, Charlie Sargent and Phil Mead.

Monday, 15 June 2015

CES 5 at WWT Llanelli

The fifth Constant Effort Site (CES) session took place today. It turned out sunnier than the forecast but this was not a problem. We caught a juvenile Whitethroat, the first of this species since 2011. We are catching predominately juvenile birds now including Chiffchaffs, Robins, Wrens and the now regular long tailed tits. We had one juvenile Goldcrest to add to the one last year.

Juvenile Chiffchaff

Juvenile Whitethroat


Species
New
Re-trap
Total
Blackbird

2
2
Wren
3

3
Dunnock
1
2
3
Long tailed tit
8

8
Whitethroat
1

1
Robin
4
1
5
Chiffchaff
2
1
3
Chaffinch
1

1
Great tit
2
1
3
Goldcrest
1

1
Totals
23

7
30


The ringing was undertaken today by Heather Coats and Keith Vaughton who were joined by Dan Rouse, our keen trainee, for the first half until she had to go to work!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Oxwich Marsh 7 June 2015: Consecutive centuries

A fine bright morning which rapidly became warm and sunny.  The lack of significant breeze was a positive, in that the nets were fairly still for much of the time, but the brightness made them more visible.

Despite the fact that the weather was not absolutely ideal, we managed a good catch, passing 100 birds for the second week running.  The total of 131 birds was made up as follows:

Species New Re-trapped     Total
Great Spotted Woodpecker 4 1 5
Wren 0 2 2
Dunnock 3 2 5
Robin 2 1 3
Blackbird 0 2 2
Song Thrush 2 0 2
Cetti's Warbler 0 2 2
Reed Warbler 1 1 2
Whitethroat 0 1 1
Blackcap 1 0 1
Willow Warbler 1 0 1
Blue Tit 9 2 11
Great Tit 8 2 10
Chaffinch 15 4 19
Greenfinch 4 3 7
Goldfinch 39 15 54
Siskin 1 0 1
Reed Bunting 1 2 3
Total: 91 40 131

The highlights were four new great spotted woodpeckers, including a couple of juveniles, two juvenile song thrush (as we don't always capture this species at the site until the autumn), our first willow warbler for a little while, the first fledgling blue and great tits of the year and a control reed warbler (a bird ringed elsewhere and recaptured on the marsh).  Breaking a half century of goldfinches in the session was also excellent.

The catch was swelled by numerous juvenile birds

We periodically look at how we are doing against 2014.  Following wet and windy weather in April and May, which resulted in our falling behind last year's pace, a couple of good sessions in early June have now seen us move slightly ahead again.  The table below is of unique birds between 1 January and 7 June inclusive in the respective years.

Species 2015 2014
Jack Snipe 1 0
Snipe 2 0
Kingfisher 0 2
Green Woodpecker 1 0
Great Spotted Woodpecker 11 4
Swallow 1 1
Wren 18 14
Dunnock 22 18
Robin 23 18
Stonechat 0 2
Blackbird 9 5
Song Thrush 6 0
Mistle Thrush 1 0
Cetti's Warbler 7 5
Grasshopper Warbler 2 1
Sedge Warbler 8 7
Reed Warbler 9 11
Whitethroat 3 1
Blackcap 17 12
Wood warbler 0 1
Chiffchaff 7 8
Willow Warbler 3 11
Goldcrest 6 3
Long-tailed Tit 11 0
Coal tit 0 2
Blue Tit 141 127
Great Tit 61 43
Treecreeper 2 0
Magpie 1 1
Chaffinch 122 58
Greenfinch 118 175
Goldfinch 232 191
Siskin 29 60
Lesser Redpoll 1 0
Bullfinch 8 4
Reed Bunting 37 83
Total 920 868

As can be seen from the table, the diversity of species trapped in 2015 is well up on this time in 2014, which is testimony to the fact that we have tried ringing in various different locations around the marsh, and sampled different habitats.  The only species we have captured significantly less of in 2015 than we had by this time in 2014 are greenfinch and reed bunting.  It may be that numbers of both species have been affected by the lack of ground baiting this year.  However, the presence of pheasants around the feeders has necessitated this.

Many thanks to today's team of Wayne Morris, Darren Hicks, Heather Coats, Dan Rouse, Charlie Sargent and Dai Stacey for company and assistance this morning.

A couple of photos below.

Owain Gabb
07/06/2015

A very attractive bald female great tit.  The baldness may be due to abrasion due to coming in and out of a nest hole, feather mites or a bit of both.  The bird will look a lot healthier after its forthcoming moult.

A recently fledged blue tit.  Our first of the year.