60 years young

Members of the Cambridge Bird Club first started taking interest in the waders using The Wash in the early 1950s. Initially, this interest focused around monitoring and counting the wader populations in winter, but soon included catching attempts using mist nets and clap nets. The Wash Wader Ringing Group was formed during the summer of 1959 when a team, including Clive Minton, persuaded Peter Scott of the Wildfowl Trust to lend them their rocket nets to try catching large groups of waders on ploughed fields; the Group took their first rocket net catch, at Terrington in Norfolk, on 18 August 1959, exactly 60 years ago today. 

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Grey Plover migration

The symbol of the Wash Wader Ringing Group is the Grey Plover – fittingly as we have ringed nearly 60% of the Grey Plover ringed in Britain & Ireland to date. However, we have recorded fewer than 50 international exchanges, so our knowledge of where they go is limited – as it is in the rest of NW Europe. 

To address this knowledge gap, researchers on the Waddensea have satellite tagged and followed 11 Grey Plover caught there and have gathered much more detailed information. The satellite tracks show individuals going up to Yamal and Taimyr (Russia) to breed, with wintering locations including the Waddensea, Ireland, France, Portugal and Guinea Bissau. This fascinating paper is free to view on the journal website.