December mist netting

Friday 1 December

A few hardy people met on Friday evening at the fieldwork base in preparation for an early morning mist-net catch at Gedney. The small team included three people who were on the Wash for the first time. Aron and Alyce had been out on the marsh in the afternoon to plan the catch and to leave guiding sticks to help the team to find the route later in the dark. Aron and Alyce had also prepared supper for those that wanted food and plans were made for timings with a realisation that a 04.37 high tide necessitated leaving the base at midnight! The equipment was packed into three cars before the team headed to bed for a short sleep.

Saturday 2 December

After a very short sleep, the team were up before midnight, persuading their bodies that it really was morning! An efficient net set resulted in five nets up with sound lures on by 01.45. Despite Aron having seen reasonable numbers of waders on the marsh earlier in the day, catching was slow with only a couple of birds in each of the earlier net rounds. However, two of the birds in the early rounds were Black-tailed Godwit, new species for two members of the group. These were taken off the marsh to be ringed, processed and released as is the protocol for large waders.

The nets were taken down at high tide as the birds stopped moving and the team returned to the cars to ring and process the remainder of the birds. The small catch enabled the new members of the group to gain experience in ringing new species and in learning about the ageing process of these birds.

Catch totals: 

Species New Retrap Adult Juvenile Total
Dunlin 11 0 5 6 11
Redshank 8 0 0 8 8
Black-tailed Godwit 2 0 1 1 2
Knot 1 0 0 1 1
Total 22 0 6 16 22

The team left Gedney just as dawn was breaking and returned to base for a well-deserved breakfast before leaving.

Thank you to Aron for leading the catch – a welcome return to him at WWRG after his summer as warden on the Calf of Man.