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 March 2023 (part 2)

Friday 24 March

Noble pioneers, Guy, Kirsty and Ryan joined the sunrise to recce a number of sites ahead of the main party. Ryan’s recce yielded more ducks and geese than waders at Gedney and Kirsty’s exploration of the beach at Snettisham was even more disappointing, with a dearth of birds. Thankfully, Guy, found flock of 230 Oystercatchers at Heacham South, 150 m south of the tump and another flock of 60 further south. However, Heacham South was busy with walkers and dogs and the Oystercatchers were very mobile as a result. The same could not be said of a flock of 500 Sanderling and 30 Turnstone at Heacham North North which demonstrated remarkable tolerance of disturbance and settled on a ridge on the beach for at least 40 minutes from 08:00 hrs, unwittingly identifying themselves as the best possible target for the following morning.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork January 2023

Friday 20 January

At 13:00 Mark went to recce on Heacham South beach. At this time the tide had a long way to come back in and there were lots of Oystercatchers out on the mud. Strong onshore wind and waves caused the birds to come quickly off the mud and onto the beach. Mark observed five separate groups of about 100 each. Some of the birds moved right up to the previous tide line before high tide arrived while three of the groups stayed at the water’s edge. Unhappy with the large amount of people and dog walkers on the beach, many birds flew off to Snettisham Pits; however, Mark stayed until after dark (around 16:30), by which point the number of people had reduced, and despite the strong wind there were still Oystercatchers on the grot line.

Continue Reading →

Fieldwork October 2022

Tim, Selena and Dave arrived at the Norfolk base earlier in the week to work on house and garden maintenance. In particular they removed a large amount of the excess vegetation that had grown up in the garden and Dave in particular helped wire up the potential decoy store. Cathy joined them for some of the time and Mark also helped out but wasn’t able to stay on for the weekend. This team put in a significant amount of effort over these few days and so deserve a big thank you from the group!

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 →