Saturday, 11 March 2017

Oxwich Marsh 11 March 2017: an influx of finches and a new duck trap

A pleasant morning; a light to moderate south-easterly wind and overcast.

We tried targeting snipe in two areas, put a net by the feeder, and a line through the reed bed. The catch was as follows:

Species
New
Recaptured
Total
Jack Snipe
1
0
1
Snipe
1
0
1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
0
1
1
Wren
0
1
1
Blue Tit
4
4
8
Great Tit
0
3
3
Chaffinch
3
2
5
Greenfinch
6
2
8
Goldfinch
43
8
51
Siskin
10
1
11
Reed Bunting
0
1
1
Total:
68
23
91

Snipe numbers have clearly decreased over the past few weeks, and we only managed one common and one jack snipe this morning. One bird was caught in each of the respective trapping areas, which were L-shaped and U-shaped configurations respectively.

The nets across the marsh returned no birds at all, despite being up for three hours and a notable recent increase in reed bunting numbers in the reedbed. The feeder nets accounted for all but four of the birds!

The main feature of the catch was the total of 51 goldfinches. A flock of around 60 birds has been roosting in the bushes close to the feeding station recently, and other birds are obviously commuting in. The siskins have been present for a few weeks, but this was the first time we had caught them this year. No between-year retraps yet, but we did control a female ringed elsewhere.

The pace was fairly gentle, allowing some late winter ride maintenance and for Wayne to complete his duck trap. A very professional-looking result, and hopefully something that will provide an opportunity for increasing the range of species our trainees get to handle. No rash statements about what we will catch at this stage; we will play it by ear.

A few chiffchaff, including a singing bird were around the South Pond, we saw our first sand martin of the year, the little egret roost numbered seven birds, and a pair of buzzards were tussling with a female goshawk over the marsh just before we left - so some good birdwatching to go with the ringing.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Paul Aubrey, Val Wilson, Sarah Davies and Francis Morgan for company and assistance this morning.

Owain Gabb
11/03/2017

Jack (left) and common snipe

Jack (left) and common snipe

Jack (upper) and common snipe

Siskin (male)

Wayne with the duck trap (90 % complete here)

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