Fieldwork March 2020

Once everyone had assembled on Friday evening (and after a delicious dinner – thanks Ron!), Gary and Lou led the Wash Wader weekend and gave the briefing, making sure to ask everyone to wash their hands regularly with the growing Covid-19 situation. They explained that the aim would be to cannon net a small number of Turnstone on Heacham North North which had been seen during the recce that they had done with Cathy that morning. They’d also seen large flocks of Oystercatchers however as they have been targeted previously, it was decided that the priority would be to colour ring Turnstone. The trailer was packed the night before and the team set their alarms for 04:15.

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Migration on the other side of the world

Wash Wader Ringing Group members have got involved in assisting with other ringing projects, both in the UK and further afield, since our early days. A paper just out online early in the Journal Wader Study describes the results of some work WWRG members have been involved in as part of a large, multi-national team working on the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper across its range. These extremely cute, endangered waders breed in the far east of Russia, then migrate along the East-Asian-Australasian flyway where they also stop to moult, carrying on to the wintering grounds in southern China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand – a distance of up to 8,000 km from the breeding grounds. The international team is trying to understand why Spoon-billed Sandpipers are declining and to try to halt that decline – and WWRG members are privileged to have been part of that effort.

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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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Fieldwork November / December 2019

Recce and plan for the weekend

The good news for the team was that, for once, the weather gods seemed to be on our side with a forecast of sunshine, low temperatures and little wind. Plans were therefore put in place for a full weekend with a cannon-net catch attempt on Saturday morning, mist netting on Saturday evening and a possible second cannon-net attempt on Sunday.

The first part of any field work weekend is for a recce to be undertaken to determine the options for catching. Lizzie and Ryan kindly offered to do the recces on Snettisham and Heacham beaches, arriving at the fieldwork base on Thursday evening for an early start on Friday morning. Cathy not only made the trip to meet Lizzie and Ryan at the base on Thursday afternoon to deliver the keys but also stayed to cook for them before returning home which was greatly appreciated.

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