This was the first field trip of 2018 for the Wash Wader Ringing Group and was the first cannon net catch by the group since September 2017. This was an extremely experienced team, with four cannon net licensees (plus one trainee,) as well as several ringers with considerable experience of both cannon netting and mist netting waders with the group. Sophie and Alyce had each been to one mist net catch previously and only Ellie was completely new to wader ringing with the group (although she had done some wader ringing with another group).
Over the last two or three years WWRG has increased its efforts on the resighting of colour-marked birds, recognising that this provides valuable data in terms of the number of recoveries and the information gained on the movements and survival of birds that have been ringed. Previous blogs have outlined the fieldwork undertaken by WWRG in the last quarter of 2017, including colour-ring resighting, particularly the ‘Colour-mark resighting bonanza’ weekend of 6–8 October when 146 sightings of 88 birds were made over three tides.
Friday 1 December
A few hardy people met on Friday evening at the fieldwork base in preparation for an early morning mist-net catch at Gedney. The small team included three people who were on the Wash for the first time. Aron and Alyce had been out on the marsh in the afternoon to plan the catch and to leave guiding sticks to help the team to find the route later in the dark. Aron and Alyce had also prepared supper for those that wanted food and plans were made for timings with a realisation that a 04.37 high tide necessitated leaving the base at midnight! The equipment was packed into three cars before the team headed to bed for a short sleep.
Friday 17 November
This was a second weekend for the group with no opportunity for making a cannon net catch. However, there was a double opportunity for mist netting, along with the usual colour ring resighting on one tide. The mist netting sessions were initially planned for the high tides on both Saturday morning and Saturday evening but, as with all WWRG field trips, this was dependent on the weather.
One of the most interesting aspects of ringing with WWRG is the information that we receive on birds that we have ringed which turn up in different places both in the UK and elsewhere. These may be re-sighted from colour marks on the legs of a bird or from the bird being re-caught, either through mist netting or cannon netting, by another ringing group. Increasingly we are also receiving reports from individual birders who have read the metal ring of a wader in the field, an indication of the quality of modern optical equipment and the interest of birders in the finding of ringed birds.