A week into our trip and we are into the swing – we are managing to do a complete count on each site in each three-day period. We are also spending more time on data now, trying to get everything sorted. The Knot however are slow to arrive…Continue Reading →
Curlew use the Wash both as a passage site to moult during autumn and as a wintering location. On a global scale, they are ‘Near Threatened’ i.e. vulnerable to extinction and they are present in Internationally important numbers on the Wash. Declines in the UK breeding population have placed Curlew in the highest category of UK bird conservation concern; therefore, the species is a priority for the group in terms of long-term conservation monitoring. We started to mark a proportion of the population on the eastern shore of the Wash with unique leg flags in 2012. This allows us to accurately determine their survival and assess wintering habitat use.
Since then, a total of 478 birds have been marked and we have had over 5,000 re-encounters recorded by over 200 WWRG volunteers and members of the public. We regularly dedicate fieldwork hours to ensure we have sufficient resightings to determine survival and winter distribution. This steady stream of data has started to be used in scientific publications to describe the east Wash Curlew population. This blog is a summary of what we have learnt so far.Continue Reading →
The members of the Wash Wader RG were very sorry to hear that one of our longest-standing members, Mike Watson, has died. Mike started coming to the Wash over 60 years ago while at university, where he and Daphne met and got together while catching Swifts at Cambridge Sewage Farm – ringers are nothing if not romantic. Although never officially a ringer, Mike has been a WWRG stalwart ever since, known for his awesome cooking skills, expert recceing and reliable scribing. Mike hasn’t been able to join us since before Covid, and we were already missing him and Daphne. Our thoughts are with Daphne and the family – all of whom have been out catching waders at some point in their lives. There will be an obituary in our next biennial report.
We miss you Mike!
Photo above: Mike scribing for a ‘vintage’ team on the occasion of Clive Minton’s last visit to the Wash – Heacham, September 2018. From left: Clive, Mike, Steve Dodd and Daphne Watson. Photo by Cathy Ryden.
Friday 5 November
Most team members started to assemble at the base house from mid-afternoon (breaking the peace of Bernard and Carole who had been staying for a few days already). A mini-Glastonbury was then established outside to accommodate the large weekend team. Cathy, along with Lynne and Alex, provided a hearty meal of jacket potatoes with all the trimmings for the bulk of the team, followed by a fruit salad (Lynne), and a chocolate hazelnut tray bake (Alex) which was big enough to last the entire weekend (thanks to Tim and Ian B for washing up!). Katharine, Sophie, Alice, Rob, Sam and Skye all arrived later, with Rob blaming his later than planned arrival on the necessity to bake a carrot cake for the team, starting at 17:15…Continue Reading →
The following trip report was written by Sebastian Cooksey, age 14
BOOM! The cannons fired and the best weekend of my life had just started. After lying for around an hour in the grass, we suddenly rushed to our feet and were running to the catch. From first glance, we realised it was a wet catch, nonetheless we waded into the water and started the process of ushering the birds up onto the drier beach. Water flooded into my wellies, but the excitement overpowered the discomfort. When the birds were all up on the beach, nicely rolled into a pocket, we could calm down. I could appreciate what we had caught, lots of pearl-white Sanderlings mixed in with a few Ringed Plovers. We could now start the extracting process and I was going to just stand and watch the experienced ringers have the fun, but Rob encouraged me to go do some extracting and before long I had three Sanderlings in my hand ready to put in keeping boxes. I was really grateful that Rob encouraged me to get involved and I feel like all the other people I met on this trip were all just as welcoming and trusting. This is what made me enjoy this weekend so much.Continue Reading →