Delaware news – part 3

So we still don’t have any Knot on this side of the Bay, but numbers are increasing in New Jersey. It seems that we maybe lost a lot of the Horseshoe Crab eggs with the nor’easter at the beginning of the season and the spawning hasn’t been good enough to fully replenish yet. The temperature is generally at a level that we can cope with, so not the normal highs over here. However, there clearly have been some Knot visiting us as we have recorded over 450 different individual Knot and seen some that have been marked in New Jersey this year.

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Cannon-net training course

I have been working towards my cannon-net endorsement for just over two years, aiming to get to as many cannon-net catches as possible to gain experience in different kinds of scenarios, catching different species and being out in the field with various licence holders. Work, travel and home life often curtail the number of catches I would like to attend and up to now, due to the nature of my work, most of the cannon-net catches I have been involved in have been focussed on catching wildfowl species such as Bewick’s Swans, Pink-footed Geese and Red-breasted Geese. During September 2018, I was fortunate to find myself heading to China to assist global efforts in learning more about the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and it was on this trip, led by Wash Wader Ringing Group (WWRG) members, that my eyes were opened to the cannon-netting and ringing of wader species. For the first part of the trip, I was literally like a ‘duck out of water’ as I watched in awe the experienced team go about the planning, catching and processing of large numbers of Asian wader species.

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Fieldwork February 2019

Friday 22 February

Alex and Aron headed to Snettisham and Heacham South beaches to recce at first light on Friday morning. Upon arrival at Heacham beach (06:15) there were c. 200 Curlew roosting along the tide edge in a thin line extending along the shore. At Snettisham Aron had c. 300 Oystercatchers. The visibility was initially quite poor due to mist over the coast, but it soon burnt off and an ‘oil slick’ of mainly Oystercatchers was sighted on Heacham South beach. The flock was made up of 2,000+ Oystercatchers, 100+ Sanderling, c. 500 godwits, c. 50 Knot, c. 25 Curlew and 5−10 Ringed Plover.

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Fieldwork October 2018

Friday 26 October

A Friday morning recce of Snettisham Beach was carried out by Cathy who arrived earlier on Thursday. Approximately 1,000 each of Knot and Oystercatcher were seen roosting on the beach at high tide.

The rest of the team arrived Friday afternoon to discuss plans for the weekend. The weather forecast, with moderate to strong onshore winds, was unsuitable for cannon netting on Saturday so no nets were set.

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Fieldwork September 2018

Friday 7 September

The majority of the team assembled Friday evening to prepare for the week ahead. Introductions were made and included a warm welcome to Clive who was one of the founding members of WWRG in 1959 and was looking forward to revisiting old haunts. Early recces from Cathy yielded little more than c. 40 Sanderling on Snettisham Beach so the plan was agreed to mist net on Saturday morning at Gedney.

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