Meet (some of) the team

Francis Argyle (he/him)

I have been coming to The Wash
for three quarters of my life!
My day job is
Ringer at Hefer Valley Ringing Station
I’m based in
Israel

My favourite wader is… I guess I favour some of the non-shoreline species like Coursers, but Ibisbills in Nepal, 1993 were very special.  I was walking along a fast rocky river, lots of gravel strips and small boulders, fast water, waves and splashes… I was a bit misled by the ‘Ibis’ bit in that I was looking for a bird the size of a Glossy Ibis.  Then, from about 20 metres away, a dozen Oystercatcher-sized waders took off out of nowhere just in front of me, flew 100 metres and disappeared again on a gravel bank in the middle of the river.  Amazing camouflage.  I stalked them more carefully and got better views.  They were a bit wary and their grey and white colours with a bit of black just perfectly matched their prefered habitat.  That combination of colour can just resemble fast water flowing over a rock.  People often ask what is my favourite bird and I always answer that it is not just the individual species, but also the habitat, the surroundings and the supporting cast of other species in that neighbourhood.

My most memorable catch:  I have been to lots of catches with WWRG and most of them are a blur in my memory of hectic activity, a snooze and more hectic activity all with a plentiful food supply and a great team with whom to be included. I guess the Wash catch which is most firmly embedded in my mind is the first one in winter 1967 – it was an amazing first experience but I learnt that I not only must I be able to extract waders in the dark, I needed remember to bring good warm and waterproof clothes. I much prefer warmer conditions, such as in the photo where I am extracting Wrybills and New Zealand Dotterel as part of a conservation project.

I first came to the Wash because: I was a C-ringer and in November 1969, at a thrush/finch roost in a wood close by my village near Tamworth, Staffs, I met a great big A-ringer who suggested I should widen my ringing experience by attending WWRG… thanks, Clive, you changed my life.

Ryan Burrell (he/him)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2014
My day job is
PhD student working on breeding waders
I’m based in
New Forest, Hampshire
Describe The Wash in three words…
Educational, Cooperative, Fun

Most memorable Wash catch … is not a catch but a trip. In early September 2018, we were lucky enough to be joined by the late Clive Minton – a founding member of WWRG, VWSG and IWSG and a truly inspirational figure. Listening to his stories of wader work both historic and current is something I will always remember.

The most enjoyable thing about the Wash is… the people. Of course, we all love working with waders, but it is the varied background, opinions and skills that makes the Group work so well and the work so enjoyable.

If you are coming first time? Get involved as there are always things to do. Your first visit can be really daunting especially if you arrive not knowing anyone but if you offer to help there will be very few occasions where it is not enthusiastically welcomed.

Jacquie Clark (she/her)

I have been coming to The Wash for:
ever, it seems…
My day job is
retired, but working on waders – fieldwork, editing and analysis
I’m based in
East Anglia
Describe The Wash in three words…
Cold, exciting, magnificent

The most enjoyable thing about the Wash is: the people

When I’m not catching waders, I’m: dog walking, gardening, birdwatching.

If you are coming first time? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ros Green (she/her)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2012
My day job is
PhD researcher finding things out about Shelduck
I’m based in
Powys, Wales
Describe The Wash in three words…
Fun, full-on, family

Most memorable Wash catch… Wainfleet Island in the hide – thousands of waders built up on the mud just outside the hide and the noise was incredible! Especially every time they all took off. Totally magical. I don’t think we caught many, but it was still brilliant.

My favourite wader is… Red-capped Plover, because they’re my ginger self in wader form.

If you are coming first time? Expect the unexpected… nothing ever goes to plan!

Chantal Macleod-Nolan (she/her)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2016
My day job is
Project Officer with the RSPB
I’m based in
Northumberland
Describe The Wash in three words…
Friendly, educational, fun

Most memorable Wash catch… Being out on a saltmarsh mist-netting and enjoying listening to the waders (as well as those on the tape lures) with bioluminescence in the water.

My favourite wader is… When at the Wash, one of the best waders and full of personality is the Oystercatcher, however my actual favourite is the Purple Sandpiper! They are such a hardy wee bird and I love watching them in their element on wave-battered rocky shores.

Favourite Wash recipe/meal? Chilli con/sin Carne

When I come to the Wash I bring: an extra pair of gloves, handy for any chilly days and if you accidentally get the first pair wet!

Rob Pell (he/him)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2012
My day job is
a doctor working for the NHS
I’m based in
Oxford

Most enjoyable thing about the Wash… is leaving the world behind and immersing yourself in the Wash and its wildlife. Sometimes literally

My favourite wader is… Bar-tailed Godwit. They get overshadowed by their glamorous Black-tailed cousins, but have the most interesting migration strategies of any Wash wader.

If you are coming first time? make sure you have a wide brimmed hat in summer, and multiple layers of warm waterproof clothing in winter. Bring extra pairs of dry socks when catching.

Chris Quy (he/him)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2015
My day job is
Anti-malware service manager for a local university
I’m based in
Cambridge
Describe The Wash in three words…
Friendly, tiring, fun

When I come to the Wash I bring… too many clothes

Favourite Wash recipe/meal I like the fact that it doesn’t matter even if it’s mid-afternoon, if we’ve just got in from a morning catch we’ll still have porridge and a cooked breakfast.

If you are coming first time? Don’t be nervous, we’re all pretty friendly, but expect to be busy and be prepared for less sleep than you’re probably used to

Elli Rivers (she/her)

I have been coming to The Wash since
September 2021
My day job is
PhD researcher on curlew chick survival
I’m based in
Dorset
Describe The Wash in three words…
Fun, friendly, full-on!

Most memorable Wash catch: My first one, I was hooked!

I first came to the Wash because: I’ve always wanted to come but never quite plucked up the courage as I didn’t know anyone who went at the time. Finally made it to mark my year’s anniversary of being diagnosed with and recovering from lymphoma – had a brilliant time, and made lots of new friends. 

If you are coming first time? Make sure you have a decent night’s sleep before!

Rob Rob (he/him)

I have been coming to The Wash for
more than half my life – it’s addictive!
My day job is
Working for the BTO, analysing the causes of bird population change.
I’m based in
Norfolk
Describe The Wash in three words…
When to snooze?

My favourite wader is… Sanderling, the way they always want to be in the tide edge, but never quite seeming brave enough to stay…

Most memorable Wash catch… catching knot on Heacham beach one foggy February day, the air was so still that people’s hair frosted over as they processed.

I first came to the Wash because… I was a trainee, and on my first cannon-netting trip (in Scotland) the nets were never actually fired…

Cathy Ryden (she/her)

I have been coming to The Wash since
2007
My day job is
Too varied to pin down!
I’m based in
Cambridgeshire and Norfolk 
Describe The Wash in three words…
Many spectacular birds!

My favourite wader is… Turnstone, they’re feisty and the easiest Wash wader to resight as they come close and the colour rings are then easy to see

I first came to the Wash because… I had completed an “Introduction to Bird Ringing course” and was invited by a member who was also there

If you are coming first time? Expect the unexpected; no two trips are ever the same