Fieldwork November / December 2019

Recce and plan for the weekend

The good news for the team was that, for once, the weather gods seemed to be on our side with a forecast of sunshine, low temperatures and little wind. Plans were therefore put in place for a full weekend with a cannon-net catch attempt on Saturday morning, mist netting on Saturday evening and a possible second cannon-net attempt on Sunday.

The first part of any field work weekend is for a recce to be undertaken to determine the options for catching. Lizzie and Ryan kindly offered to do the recces on Snettisham and Heacham beaches, arriving at the fieldwork base on Thursday evening for an early start on Friday morning. Cathy not only made the trip to meet Lizzie and Ryan at the base on Thursday afternoon to deliver the keys but also stayed to cook for them before returning home which was greatly appreciated.

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Fieldwork October 2019

Friday 25 October – Sunday 27 October

The weekend was dominated by the usual complexities of weather with constant changes to the forecast in the week leading up to the field work which presented challenges to the organisers. It was also the weekend of the annual change in time from BST to GMT (why does this happen so often on a Wash weekend?). An additional complication was the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with England playing New Zealand on Saturday morning. With a combination of these factors, it was going to be an interesting weekend . . .

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Fieldwork September 2019

Friday 27 September

The team assembled at the fieldwork base early evening and were treated to a supper of baked potatoes with vegetables followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. After supper Lucy gave a briefing outlining the options for the weekend. There was no catching option for Saturday morning due to the tide so it was agreed that this would provide a good opportunity for a major resighting effort by the team. Lucy had arrived at the fieldwork base on Thursday evening in order to undertake recces over the Friday tides. Lucy had around 1,000 Oystercatchers on the rising tide along Heacham beach on Friday evening which provided a good option for a catch on Saturday evening. There was also the option of a Turnstone catch on Heacham North North beach. Lucy and the team had several considerations to take into account including Lucy’s limitations on her cannon-net licence, the small size of the team and the less than favourable weather conditions with strong winds forecast for Saturday and rain on Sunday morning.

It was decided to aim for the Oystercatcher catch on Saturday evening, partly due the lack of available colour rings for Turnstone, leaving the Turnstone catch for a weekend later in the season when we could also add colour rings to the birds caught. Teams were agreed for the resighting on Saturday morning and the team enjoyed a reasonably early night.

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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.

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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.

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