Fieldwork August 2023

Decoy making weekend 29–30 July

Before The Wash week began, a dedicated team got together at Nigel and Jacquie’s house to make up a batch of decoy birds to aid us with future catches. The end product is a life-like model which we can place in the catching area, during cannon-netting, to attract birds. Nigel was an excellent teacher and we all learnt so much, not only about how to make a decoy, but about the fascinating anatomy of the birds. Those on the weekend were Ryan, Molly, Kirsty, Nigel, Jacquie, Katharine, Flo, Lucy, James, David, Sam and Skye.

We also had good fun helping Jacquie and Nigel with their CES at Hinderclay Fen and caught the first Sedge Warbler and Kingfisher for the year!

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork November 2022

Friday 25 November


Lucy Y. and Mark went out to recce in the morning. Around 07:00 at the Heacham Dam, Snettisham North, Lucy saw no birds, but by 07:15, groups of 30–200 Sanderling began to gather; Lucy also looked at Heacham South where 1,500–2,000 Oystercatchers were already present at 07:00, and stayed until 10:00, settled even with dog walkers going past the flocks on the beach. There were also a few hundred Oystercatchers roosting on the concrete slope of the Heacham Dam. Mark saw 10 Sanderling and six Turnstone at Heacham North, and 10 Oystercatchers at Heacham North North.

Continue Reading →

Colour marking schemes and WWRG

Regular attendees to The Wash (and everyone we encounter) may wonder why we typically devote one out of three tides of fieldwork to resighting colour-marked birds (as well as having some ‘resighting only’ weekends). Using colour marks alongside metal rings allows us to study aspects of wader ecology which cannot be investigated using metal rings alone. We now colour mark a variety of species and further information on our colour-marking schemes can be found here.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork September 2022

Friday 9 September

The first members of the trip arrived at the Norfolk base on Friday.

Tim went out to recce on the evening tide at the White Barn. On a new pool out from the traditional White Barn catching pool there were 300 Redshank and 250 Dunlin.

Saturday 10 September


Nigel and Tim went out in the afternoon to check out the new pool that Tim had found on Friday. They decided to set a single net there with a team of seven in a hide and a second team hiding out on the marsh. Bamboo poles were used to support the hide as they were lighter to carry further out onto the marsh to the new pool. The second team couldn’t see from where they were hiding in the long grass but they did enjoy a lovely sunset. The hide team was able to get to the net very quickly, the second team made a good effort to run the longer distance to the net.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork August 2022

Avian Influenza (AI) precautions: With the spread of AI to wild birds (mainly colony nesters), we followed BTO guidelines and also introduced extra safety precautions to minimise risk – see here. There were also some sites we did not have access to for catching.

Friday 12 August

Recces were carried out early on Friday morning:

Norfolk: Cathy found Heacham Beach, north of the Ringed Plover fencing, was gull city with no waders present. Heacham North North at high tide had 33 Turnstone and 26 Ringed Plover.

Continue Reading →