Fieldwork February 2019

Friday 22 February

Alex and Aron headed to Snettisham and Heacham South beaches to recce at first light on Friday morning. Upon arrival at Heacham beach (06:15) there were c. 200 Curlew roosting along the tide edge in a thin line extending along the shore. At Snettisham Aron had c. 300 Oystercatchers. The visibility was initially quite poor due to mist over the coast, but it soon burnt off and an ‘oil slick’ of mainly Oystercatchers was sighted on Heacham South beach. The flock was made up of 2,000+ Oystercatchers, 100+ Sanderling, c. 500 godwits, c. 50 Knot, c. 25 Curlew and 5−10 Ringed Plover.

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Fieldwork January 2019

Friday 25 January

Recces were done on Friday morning but there was poor visibility and although the birds had come up on the rising tide they had left before high water. So a further series of recces was planned for Saturday morning along with the resighting.

During the briefing, as there were a number of participants new to the group, Guy explained the background to our resighting activity. This enables us to get additional information, for instance survival data, on an annual basis and find out which fields and beaches Curlew are using. Reference was also made to driving with care, especially around Sandringham! More of that later…

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Curlew and winter weather

If there is one preoccupation that unites the British above all others, it is discussion of the weather. The variable dominance of arctic maritime, polar maritime, polar continental, tropical maritime and tropical continental air masses cause rapid and variable changes in weather (and much conversation). Wind and rain can severely curtail fieldwork undertaken by the group; consequently following online weather predictions is fast becoming a collective obsession. The cold, snowy spell last year (22 February – 5 March) was so unusual that the press dubbed it ‘The Beast from the East’. This cold wave was officially named ‘Anticyclone Hartmut’, and brought widespread, unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall to large areas. It combined with Storm Emma, which made landfall in southwest England and southern Ireland on 2 March. A milder repeat episode dubbed the ‘Mini-Beast from the East’ occurred on the weekend of 17 March 2018.

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Fieldwork October 2018

Friday 26 October

A Friday morning recce of Snettisham Beach was carried out by Cathy who arrived earlier on Thursday. Approximately 1,000 each of Knot and Oystercatcher were seen roosting on the beach at high tide.

The rest of the team arrived Friday afternoon to discuss plans for the weekend. The weather forecast, with moderate to strong onshore winds, was unsuitable for cannon netting on Saturday so no nets were set.

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Fieldwork September 2018

Friday 7 September

The majority of the team assembled Friday evening to prepare for the week ahead. Introductions were made and included a warm welcome to Clive who was one of the founding members of WWRG in 1959 and was looking forward to revisiting old haunts. Early recces from Cathy yielded little more than c. 40 Sanderling on Snettisham Beach so the plan was agreed to mist net on Saturday morning at Gedney.

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