Fieldwork March 2024

Friday 8 MarchThe Maltings, Ely

Members of WWRG formed a large proportion of over 150 people who gathered at The Maltings, Ely, to celebrate the life of Mark Smart who died suddenly in February at the age of just 56. Mark’s family dressed the tables with mementos of Mark’s wide-ranging talents and interests and five speakers built a vivid picture of his life. Mark grew up in farming with huge enthusiasm for agricultural machinery. Decades of involvement with WWRG and a deep interest in the science of waders then gave Mark a unique combination of skills. Working for the RSPB, he demonstrated practically how big machinery can transform habitats and hence the fortunes of breeding waders. Several RSPB reserves (and other reserves) including Berney Marshes and Crook of Baldoon will form his wider legacy while we in WWRG miss his friendship and commitment as Membership Secretary and Vice-Chair of the WWRG Trustees.

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Fieldwork January 2024

Friday 12 January

Mark was on hand to kick the weekend off as he headed to Heacham and Snettisham to recce for possible cannon-net catches for the Saturday morning. The Tump was quiet with no Oystercatcher present, and further along towards Heacham there were Sanderling, Turnstone and a few Oystercatcher scattered along the beaches, but nothing providing a suitable catching option. Thus, it was decided that Saturday morning would be a resighting morning.

Later that evening, 13 team members gathered at base house and enjoyed Cathy’s now famous baked potatoes, Eton mess and good company.

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Resighting weekend December 2022

Friday 9 December

Sam, David, Hilary and Cathy met up at the base on Friday evening. Cathy had resighted at Snettisham beach, observing one very regular Curlew – orange XK.

Saturday 10 December

Weather conditions were grey, still and cold with the temperature about 2 degrees C.

Cathy went to Heacham Dam to resight over the falling tide. A flock of 60 Knot were feeding on the mussel bed. There were three WWRG-flagged birds, two newly marked a couple of weeks before and the third remains unknown, as the flag was so badly stained it was unreadable. A regular GreyPlover (E6) was also there and three Curlew. Several Bar-Tailed Godwit and Turnstone were seen but none of these were colour-marked. Cathy then headed to Hunstanton.

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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!

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Fieldwork July 2022

Friday 15 July

Evening recces were carried out at:

Gedney (Nigel) – the marshes were flooded 45 mins before tide with around 100 Curlew over the marsh, around 100 Redshank on the tide edge and 200–300 Black-headed Gulls on the pool.

Beaches (Guy) – Heacham North North, no birds; Heacham South c. 2,000 Oystercatchers; Snettisham beach a few Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers, but lots of Ringed Plover fencing all along the beach making it unusable for catching. Also noted at Snetts was a Turtle Dove calling and a Spoonbill flyover.

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