Delaware news – part 1

It’s May again and members of the Wash Wader Ringing Group are heading to Delaware to resight and catch waders as part of the Delaware Shorebird Project. Group members have been helping out with the study since it’s inception in the late 1990s, contributing to both the fieldwork and the analysis and write up of the data collected. More about the study can be found here: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Shorebirds/Pages/default.aspx

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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 January 2019

Friday 25 January

Recces were done on Friday morning but there was poor visibility and although the birds had come up on the rising tide they had left before high water. So a further series of recces was planned for Saturday morning along with the resighting.

During the briefing, as there were a number of participants new to the group, Guy explained the background to our resighting activity. This enables us to get additional information, for instance survival data, on an annual basis and find out which fields and beaches Curlew are using. Reference was also made to driving with care, especially around Sandringham! More of that later…

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Curlew and winter weather

If there is one preoccupation that unites the British above all others, it is discussion of the weather. The variable dominance of arctic maritime, polar maritime, polar continental, tropical maritime and tropical continental air masses cause rapid and variable changes in weather (and much conversation). Wind and rain can severely curtail fieldwork undertaken by the group; consequently following online weather predictions is fast becoming a collective obsession. The cold, snowy spell last year (22 February – 5 March) was so unusual that the press dubbed it ‘The Beast from the East’. This cold wave was officially named ‘Anticyclone Hartmut’, and brought widespread, unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfall to large areas. It combined with Storm Emma, which made landfall in southwest England and southern Ireland on 2 March. A milder repeat episode dubbed the ‘Mini-Beast from the East’ occurred on the weekend of 17 March 2018.

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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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