Delaware news – part 2

So the weather has improved on the whole, but we are still getting rain between being boiled alive in the humid atmosphere and eaten by bugs. We still have very few Knot on the Delaware side of the Bay, although we have heard there are over 10,000 on Reed’s Beach in New Jersey. The Horseshoe Crabs are spawning better now as it warms up so we are resighting Turnstone etc. and out looking for Knot appearing. Guy and Richard headed out to likely beaches to recce on Wednesday and Richard came up with an option at the bottom of Ted Harvey that would require two people watching the net – a plan was hatched to perch Richard on a hut and put Jacquie in a boat.

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Delaware news – part 1

It’s May again and members of the Wash Wader Ringing Group are heading to Delaware to resight and catch waders as part of the Delaware Shorebird Project. Group members have been helping out with the study since it’s inception in the late 1990s, contributing to both the fieldwork and the analysis and write up of the data collected. More about the study can be found here: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Shorebirds/Pages/default.aspx

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Cannon-net training course

I have been working towards my cannon-net endorsement for just over two years, aiming to get to as many cannon-net catches as possible to gain experience in different kinds of scenarios, catching different species and being out in the field with various licence holders. Work, travel and home life often curtail the number of catches I would like to attend and up to now, due to the nature of my work, most of the cannon-net catches I have been involved in have been focussed on catching wildfowl species such as Bewick’s Swans, Pink-footed Geese and Red-breasted Geese. During September 2018, I was fortunate to find myself heading to China to assist global efforts in learning more about the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and it was on this trip, led by Wash Wader Ringing Group (WWRG) members, that my eyes were opened to the cannon-netting and ringing of wader species. For the first part of the trip, I was literally like a ‘duck out of water’ as I watched in awe the experienced team go about the planning, catching and processing of large numbers of Asian wader species.

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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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