Saturday, 19 April 2014

Oxwich Marsh

It was an early start yesterday morning. The sun was up just gone 6.00am as the nets were being erected. So  a bright cloudless day was on the cards which is not always favourable because the nets are more  visible to the birds in the bright sunlight. With the dry weather we have had recently it was really nice not having to walk around on swampy footpaths.
There were a few migrants about and Grasshopper warblers could be heard over the marsh but not seen. It sounded if there were plenty of finches about as well. The air was alive with bird song.

On the very first round this Kingfisher fell to the net. It was a female because of the red lower mandible and its bright red feet makes it an adult bird. Also the primaries and secondaries were that of an adult in a nice unworn condition.

The weirdest thing I find about Kingfishers is when held in the hand they will often turn their head in an almost 360degree circle and then back again. The first time this happened to me was as a trainee, I really thought I had in some way injured the bird.

Greenfinch showed well today, mostly males, both adult and juvenile birds. They had been feeding on the black sunflower seed.

It is believed that a lot of British Greenfinches tend to spend their whole lives near to their birthplace. There is some movement however and it is believed that some Greenfinches do arrive in the UK from the Scandinavian counties.

The first passage of the migrants probably from South West Europe or North Africa was this male Blackcap aged 5. Breeding populations of Blackcaps seem to be more abundant in the south of England and Wales, however they are still widespread throughout the UK..

It is interesting to note that more and more Blackcaps seem to be overwintering in the UK.

This female Blackcap was caught in the same net as the male Blackcap on the next net round.


My first Sedge Warbler this year was a nice surprise. The second migrant species arriving from its winter quarters, probably from North Africa and areas to the west of the Sahara. The reed beds of Oxwich Marsh being a perfect breeding ground.

Male Reed Bunting are looking very good as they finally get into their breeding plumage. Ageing is not easy. Many first year birds moult all their Greater Coverts making moult limit difficult to see. The tail feather shape can be a help to establish the birds age, however, some first year birds do moult all their tail feathers which makes it even more difficult. If in doubt 4 it.

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