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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Fieldwork August 2018

Norfolk

Saturday 11 August

An early start to the trip for Rob, Cathy and Kathryn as they recced on Saturday morning and reported lots of Sanderling (1,000+) on Snettisham and Oystercatchers on Heacham beaches, with Curlew in fields inland from Heacham (Island camping club, 14 seen, three of which were flagged, with two readable). A Sanderling catch was planned for Sunday morning which would be set just after high tide on Saturday evening. A 17:30 meal gave time for additional recces prior to a 19:45 setting. Lucy gave the first team talk of the trip at 18:00 then the team headed out. Four nets were efficiently set before the rain started and the team were back at the base house by 22:00 for a pre-catch briefing.

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Spoonies galore

So our second week started with brunch at 11:00 hrs after a few hours sleep following our first overnight mist-netting session. We headed out to recce/scan the new waterpark (under development) and the rice paddies at Taoizini to look for both mist-netting options for that night on the paddy fields and future canon-netting options on the water park. We set nets on two rice paddies again and had another amazing night with with 299 birds caught including six Spoon-billed Sandpipers (SBS) – amazing. Back to the hotel and bed at dawn this time – strange, we are becoming largely nocturnal, but are also up during the day…

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An excellent catch with a bonus bird

Many of us really look forward to our mist-netting sessions for waders as we so love being out on a saltmarsh at night. Setting mist nets on a marsh is spectacular in itself with tall lines of nets stretched across the landscape, but there is nothing to beat the atmosphere when it gets dark. As the light fades and then the tide comes in you start to hear the eerie sounds of waders calling as the water moves them up off the mudflats. If there is enough light you might start to see them flying over the marsh. If you are really lucky, there will also be shooting stars,  phosphorescence as you walk across the marsh (feeling like Gandalf every time you lean on your furling stick), or even fireworks in a nearby town.

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Fieldwork February 2018

Friday 16 February

Carole and Cathy undertook a recce of the beaches at Snettisham and Heacham at high tide, arriving on the beach just after first light at 06.15. There was approximately 250 Oystercatchers on Snettisham Beach, a nucleus of about 150 and two smaller groups of about 50 each 100 metres either side of the main flock. A group of about 10 Oystercatchers was seen on Heacham Beach with another group of about 100 Oystercatchers at the far north end of Heacham Beach. No grey waders were seen on either beach.

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