Fieldwork August / September 2019 – Norfolk

Friday 30 August

Nigel recced and found no birds on the Terrington side, so most of the team gathered in Lincolnshire where Steve had identified potential catches of Redshank and Curlew.

Saturday 31 August

Recces: Up 05:30. Lys and Ron went to Gedney, Holbeach and Boat Mere. A field with a flock of 400 Golden Plover and 350 Ringed Plover was the highlight. The Ringed Plovers had arranged themselves in the short lines in the furrows on the field, presumably in order to get out of the wind.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork August / September 2019 – Lincolnshire

Friday 30 August

Steve and Katharine undertook a recce of the area in advance of the team’s arrival. Horseshoe Lagoon had 160 Redshank while Friskney Island had a large flock of Knot which flew into the saltmarsh by the pool, which means it could be a potential mist netting option on a low spring set of tides.

In the early afternoon, two half nets were set on the southern corner of the Horseshoe Lagoon for Redshank (one large, one small mesh) for a catch later that evening. Upon arrival to the Lagoon, a group of 80 Redshank flew off, seemingly unrelated. Two nets (set as a clap-net pair) were set on the marsh south west of Horseshoe Lagoon (Wrangle Marsh) for Curlew following the Redshank setting with the intention to catch using this net the following morning.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork – early August 2019 – Norfolk

Thursday 1 August

Lou, Gary and Jean recced on Thursday morning, getting up at 05:00, leaving at 05:30 and arriving at Heacham North North at 06:10. They found 40 Turnstone spread out along with a few Sanderling and saw 800 Oystercatcher on the bend on Heacham South which were tightly clustered until 08:10.

Not much was present on Snettisham beach. Some of the fields behind the sea wall had been cut for hay and baled. The field between the two sea walls had 50 Curlew in, at least five of which had colour rings on. At 08:10 there was another 90 Curlew in the field by the road, which then flew and joined the other 50. There were 1,000 Black-tailed Godwit roosting in the newly landscaped field by the RSPB car park at 09:15, with another 1,000 Black-tailed Godwits feeding amongst the cut hay with 20 Curlew in the field next door.

Continue Reading →

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…

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →