Using data to make a difference

Birth, and copulation, and death.
That’s all the facts when you come to brass tacks:
Birth, and copulation, and death.
I’ve been born, and once is enough.

Although not involved in bird study, these lines from T. S. Eliot encapsulate our current studies of wader populations on The Wash. Bird populations are sustained by recruitment of fledged young into the adult population at an equal rate to the death of individual adults. More recruitment than deaths equals more birds. Unfortunately, the opposite is currently occurring in Eurasian Curlew, which is experiencing population decline. This could be due to not enough chicks being raised to adulthood from each nesting attempt, or alternatively, it could be due to increased death of adult birds. Knowing which factor is more important allows conservation efforts to be prioritised: do we need to protect Curlew nests to improve chick survival or do we need to enhance protection of wintering Curlew to improve adult survival? A recently published paper has explored one part of the equation – survival in Curlew – using data from The Wash, as well as other wader ringers around Britain and Ireland.

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Fieldwork February 2020

Weather forecast:

Storm Dennis!
Saturday – strong winds with showers
Sunday – strong winds with rain

Recce and plan for the weekend

The plan for the weekend was for a cannon-net catch on either Saturday or Sunday morning depending on the findings of the recce team on Friday morning. One of the aims for the weekend was a trial for catching waders on a non-spring tide – the tide heights were considerably lower than those for a normal catching weekend. Mist netting was not an option for the weekend due to the tide heights.

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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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Delaware news – part 3

So we still don’t have any Knot on this side of the Bay, but numbers are increasing in New Jersey. It seems that we maybe lost a lot of the Horseshoe Crab eggs with the nor’easter at the beginning of the season and the spawning hasn’t been good enough to fully replenish yet. The temperature is generally at a level that we can cope with, so not the normal highs over here. However, there clearly have been some Knot visiting us as we have recorded over 450 different individual Knot and seen some that have been marked in New Jersey this year.

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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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