From almost the beginning of our now over 60-year history, members of the Wash Wader Ringing Group have travelled around the world to help others with wader-catching projects. Part of this work at present involves helping with work on the critically-endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper (SBS; https://www.saving-spoon-billed-sandpiper.com/). This autumn, group members were again part of a team led by Professor Chang Quin of Nanjing Normal University, working in Jiangsu, China. The aims of this year’s autumn passage work were to catch and mark SBS, satellite tag a small number, scan flocks of SBS to work out the proportion of marked to unmarked birds to add to our estimate of the numbers of birds using the area (https://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/12026/; https://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/12091/) and to mark and measure a range of other species.Continue Reading →
So our second week started with brunch at 11:00 hrs after a few hours sleep following our first overnight mist-netting session. We headed out to recce/scan the new waterpark (under development) and the rice paddies at Taoizini to look for both mist-netting options for that night on the paddy fields and future canon-netting options on the water park. We set nets on two rice paddies again and had another amazing night with with 299 birds caught including six Spoon-billed Sandpipers (SBS) – amazing. Back to the hotel and bed at dawn this time – strange, we are becoming largely nocturnal, but are also up during the day…
The WWRG Spoonie team members are now on their way back from China. They sent two more updates before they left:
8 October update: We were up again not long after midnight and out on the shore, setting mist nets as the tide ran off. We set two lines of nets and started to catch, largely Red-necked Stint but also a Spoonie and a Relict Gull. Over 70 birds were caught in total and lots of samples were taken for the Centre for Disease Control team. A small team headed back to the hotel to collect more people, breakfast and telescopes while the rest finished processing the birds and headed over to the lagoon, only to discover they had left one team member on the seawall!
The Spoonie team reports:
5 October updates: A day of resighting and recceing to find catching sites. We found little at the local site but 50 thousand small waders and probably another 20 thousand large waders at Taiozini, where we also saw four species of heron in one view, Black-eared Kite, Little Tern, White-winged Black Tern and Caspian Tern to name a few. More to the point, we had very good numbers of Spoonies to scan, although the wind made it very difficult to read any leg flags. Back to catching tomorrow, hopefully setting both cannon net and whoosh net.
Since the early days of the Group, as well as catching waders locally, WWRG members have travelled all over world to assist with wader ringing projects and to provide training to other ringers; an important way in which we can help wader conservation. Many ringers from other countries have also been trained by WWRG members on the Wash. The map shows where WWRG members have travelled to (maroon) and where other ringers have travelled from to train with us (green); where both categories apply, the country is coloured blue.