A record of my adventures of birds and bird ringing

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

WWRG yet again!

Last friday I finally baited up my feeders and then set off for another cannon netting weekend on the wash, happy to get away from the piles of work which characterise term, to see 'real' people, birds, dogs, sea, sand.. all the things I miss.

We arrived just as a large team left to set some mist nets - for, very unusually, the tides were such that we couldnt cannon net on the saturday morning (high tide was before dawn), but good enough to try mist netting. But there was a slight problem with the wind - it was beyond the level of what we could catch in, but due to die down overnight.

After not very much sleep, we woke to find the wind had died down, so we set off to catch - and were rewarded for our efforts by 49 bird, mainly Redshank (we seem to be catching a disproportionate number of Redshank recently, apparently due to a fantastic breeding season in Iceland).

For the evening set we went to snettisham, to try and catch oystercatchers. Things were going well until (probably) a sparrowhawk spooked them, and they lifted and did not return.

Given the success of the previous morning's catch, and the lack of any good cannon netting option, it was decided to try mist netting again on the Sunday morning! This was even more successful, with 101 birds (again mainly redshank), but was kind of strange for me because my body decided to let freshers flu catch up with it at that point. Sitting in the middle of a saltmarsh for an hour or so probably didnt help it much!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Icklesham and back to Cambridge...

On the recommendation of a friend, who had told me stories of the thousands of birds (And the cool birds) that they catch, 2 weeks of my summer were spent at Icklesham. Sure enough, there were lots of birds, and there were lots of amazing birds - in particular, there was a Quail (which I never thought I'd see outside of a farm building), a beautiful but strange little bird, which I still cant imagine migrating! (see the Demog blog for an interesting story of a Quail recovery - you may have to scroll down a bit).

There were also some beautiful birds. I fell in love with Cettis warblers in particular, but also Stonechats, Robins (again), Sedge Warblers.. and really anything that I ringed/processed.

Highlights include
- catching 111 Yellow Wagtails
- the duck trap
- seeing some fantastic birds in the hand - quail, kestrels, bearded tit..
- the amazingly deep and comfortable mattresses in Luxford house, which made going to bed so much more attractive but getting up before dawn less so.

The 'lowlight' was getting stung by a weaver fish!

I'm now back in Cambridge, and went ringing to Wicken Fen yesterday, a decent catch of 91 and a good chance to catch up with some fellow ringers! My site needs a little bit of TLC before I can put my nets up (feeders need washing and filling, vegetation needs to be chopped back a bit), but watch this space!