Friday, 11 August 2017

Early August at Oxwich: some new species for the year

August has felt like another April to date. Very changeable weather, including cold, wet spells and variable winds that have swung around between south-west and due north. The Met Office has clearly struggled to know how quickly some fronts will move through, and this has led to plenty of last minute changes in forecasts.

As a result of a (predicted) moderate north-westerly wind that didn't materialise, we didn't run a session on the first weekend of the month, but got back in the saddle this week with two sessions. The first was an evening roost, and the second a morning session (albeit with a reduced amount of net to reflect the ringer-power available).

The combined total catch for the two sessions was as follows:

Species
Ringed
Recaptured
Total
Kingfisher
1
0
1
Sand Martin
3
0
3
Swallow
76
1
77
Tree Pipit
1
0
1
Pied/White Wagtail
4
0
4
Wren
3
1
4
Dunnock
2
2
4
Robin
1
1
2
Blackbird
2
0
2
Sedge Warbler
11
0
11
Reed Warbler
12
0
12
Garden Warbler
1
0
1
Blackcap
3
1
4
Chiffchaff
2
0
2
Willow Warbler
5
0
5
Blue Tit
3
0
3
Great Tit
2
5
7
Greenfinch
8
0
8
Goldfinch
1
0
1
Siskin
5
1
6
Reed Bunting
0
1
1
Total:
146
13
159

The features of the combined catch were:

  • A juvenile kingfisher. The first of the year, with a healthy weight of 38.5 g.
  • A reasonable first roost session return of 74 swallows and 3 sand martins. The only recaptured swallow had been ringed at the site 364 days previously - remarkable synchronicity! We also captured two birds leaving their roost in the morning a few days later.
  • Our first wagtails of the year. Mainly (very) juvenile pieds coming in to roost in the back of the marsh.
  • A tree pipit. A few were noted around the marsh, but most showed little interest in flying into nets (albeit one did sit on top of a net for a while). The individual captured was a short-winged (82 mm) first year bird. We have ringed a total of 54 tree pipits at the marsh over the past couple of years, and the range in wing lengths has been 82-91 mm. The weight of the bird was middle of the range at 21.6 g. It was carrying no obvious fat deposit. 
  • A garden warbler. Another first for the year, and another young bird (coded 3JP due to the extent of ongoing post juvenile moult). We normally catch our first garden warblers in the last few days of July or first few days of August, but weather put paid to the chance of early captures this year. 
A good belated start to August. The catches only get less predictable from hereon in.

Thanks to Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Emma Cole, Phil Mead, Natasha Dodds, Chris Jones, Kirsty Franklin, Stephen Vickers, Jo Conway, Lizzie Hobbs, Matt Joyce and Katie Dix for company and assistance during one or both of the sessions.

Photos taken by Keith are below

Owain Gabb
11/08/2017
The juvenile kingfisher. 
A young chiffchaff. The tail has broken at a fault bar (caused by environmental stress while the feathers were being grown). Adult do not have fault bars that line up, as the tail feathers are grown sequentially (as opposed to together in a juvenile).

The first garden warbler of the year

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