The Wash is one of a small number of sites of international importance in the UK for the Eurasian Curlew population (the only UK site that supports greater numbers being Morecambe Bay), with peak counts exceeding 8,500 during autumn passage. The Wash Wader Ringing Group has undertaken ringing studies of this charismatic wader for over 50 years and has contributed considerably to our understanding of the UK Curlew population. Metal ring recoveries of birds marked by the group indicate that most birds using the Wash breed in Finland and Sweden, with a smaller proportion coming from breeding sites within the UK.
Friday 26 January
A small number of people (four WWRG members and two partners) met at the base house on Friday evening in preparation for an intensive day of colour-ring and flag resighting on Saturday. The focus of the trip was to look for Bar-tailed Godwit with WWRG flags. The group is down on resightings of this species compared to the previous winter, with insufficient sightings to undertake a survival analysis.
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.
Saturday 19 August
The autumn Wash week began with the combined Norfolk and Lincolnshire teams convening at the Norfolk fieldwork house on Saturday afternoon. This followed some uncertainty as to whether the planned mist netting session would be able to go ahead based on weather predictions. A recce at Gedney had taken place earlier in the afternoon with glow light markers in place for finding the way across the marsh at night. With the go-ahead agreed, the team headed off to bed for a very early start the following morning.