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.
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.
Friday 6 October – Sunday 8 October
With many of the usual team members away in faraway places, poorly or with car troubles, a small team collected at the fieldwork house with plans for a weekend of colour-ring resighting and the possibility of a mist netting session on Saturday evening. The likelihood of mist nesting was always doubtful due to an unsettled weather forecast. The forecast had deteriorated by mid-morning on Saturday and a decision was made that this would not go ahead.
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.