Fieldwork January 2020

Weather forecast

Saturday – strong winds
Sunday – less wind with rain

Recce and plan for the weekend

The original plan for the weekend, based on the timings for high tide and sunrise, was resighting on Saturday morning, mist netting on Saturday evening and a cannon net attempt on Sunday morning. However, the weather forecast soon made it clear that mist netting was not going to be an option for Saturday evening so a second plan was made which included a cannon net attempt on the rising tide on Saturday afternoon.

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Fieldwork October 2019

Friday 25 October – Sunday 27 October

The weekend was dominated by the usual complexities of weather with constant changes to the forecast in the week leading up to the field work which presented challenges to the organisers. It was also the weekend of the annual change in time from BST to GMT (why does this happen so often on a Wash weekend?). An additional complication was the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with England playing New Zealand on Saturday morning. With a combination of these factors, it was going to be an interesting weekend . . .

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Fieldwork September 2019

Friday 27 September

The team assembled at the fieldwork base early evening and were treated to a supper of baked potatoes with vegetables followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. After supper Lucy gave a briefing outlining the options for the weekend. There was no catching option for Saturday morning due to the tide so it was agreed that this would provide a good opportunity for a major resighting effort by the team. Lucy had arrived at the fieldwork base on Thursday evening in order to undertake recces over the Friday tides. Lucy had around 1,000 Oystercatchers on the rising tide along Heacham beach on Friday evening which provided a good option for a catch on Saturday evening. There was also the option of a Turnstone catch on Heacham North North beach. Lucy and the team had several considerations to take into account including Lucy’s limitations on her cannon-net licence, the small size of the team and the less than favourable weather conditions with strong winds forecast for Saturday and rain on Sunday morning.

It was decided to aim for the Oystercatcher catch on Saturday evening, partly due the lack of available colour rings for Turnstone, leaving the Turnstone catch for a weekend later in the season when we could also add colour rings to the birds caught. Teams were agreed for the resighting on Saturday morning and the team enjoyed a reasonably early night.

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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 – the final instalment

So the season is coming to an end, but we had plans to catch Knot on Back Beach to check if they had reached departure weights. We got the net set quickly near the camera and were able to view it from a boat to check safety and further up the beach to check numbers. We counted the Knot in and when we had a sample (50 birds), made a dry catch with samples of Knot (47), Turnstone (93) and Semis (43). As we thought, the birds were heavy (the Sanderling are almost spherical and waddling now), with some Knot well over 200 g, so we extracted and processed quickly before spending the evening watching migration from the Dupont Nature Center (DNC) – it’s certainly underway.

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