The Spoonie team reports:
5 October updates: A day of resighting and recceing to find catching sites. We found little at the local site but 50 thousand small waders and probably another 20 thousand large waders at Taiozini, where we also saw four species of heron in one view, Black-eared Kite, Little Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Caspian Tern to name a few. More to the point, we had very good numbers of Spoonies to scan, although the wind made it very difficult to read any leg flags. Back to catching tomorrow, hopefully setting both cannon net and whoosh net.
Up early again and to a different restaurant for breakfast, one without chairs that remind you of fingernails on a blackboard each time they are moved; not good at 0600 hrs. On to Taiozini where we found sites on one lagoon to set both a cannon net and a whoosh net with different hides. We were in position in good time but then had a long wait with birds coming in to the area in small numbers. Meanwhile, those of us who were lucky enough to have (very small) chairs gradually sank into the mud, while the whoosh net hide had no chairs and a big drip! There was excitement when a juvenile Spoonie ran through the cannon net area, then far more excitement as an adult went into the whoosh net area and was caught. Later whoosh netting was promising, but came to nothing, but the addition of some more good resightings including ET (the first Spoon-billed Sandpiper that was fitted with a satellite tag in 2016) finished off a successful, if very wet, day. The cannon net is currently drying in the hotel corridor and the whoosh net is hanging over the stairs. We are hoping for more catching tomorrow.
6 October: We returned to the same lagoon to see if we could catch more birds but now in calm sunny weather. We put out one cannon net and two whoosh nets but it was one of those days. The pools we were set over dried out as the temperature rose and a Hobby moved all the birds to shore. Sending two of the team punting around the edge of the lagoon provided amusement for the rest of the team but was not effective; we then had a visit from a Peregrine. We eventually gave up. Some of the team scanned the flocks and saw several flagged Spoonies while the rest did a test fire of the cannon net. After packing up and having ice cream we returned to the hotel for some sleep and food before heading out again to mist net on the falling tide, leaving at 0045 hrs – even worse than mist netting at Gedney (one of the catching areas on the Wash)!