Fieldwork – early August 2019 – Norfolk

Thursday 1 August

Lou, Gary and Jean recced on Thursday morning, getting up at 05:00, leaving at 05:30 and arriving at Heacham North North at 06:10. They found 40 Turnstone spread out along with a few Sanderling and saw 800 Oystercatcher on the bend on Heacham South which were tightly clustered until 08:10.

Not much was present on Snettisham beach. Some of the fields behind the sea wall had been cut for hay and baled. The field between the two sea walls had 50 Curlew in, at least five of which had colour rings on. At 08:10 there was another 90 Curlew in the field by the road, which then flew and joined the other 50. There were 1,000 Black-tailed Godwit roosting in the newly landscaped field by the RSPB car park at 09:15, with another 1,000 Black-tailed Godwits feeding amongst the cut hay with 20 Curlew in the field next door.

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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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