Monday 12 December 2011

Cannon Netting on Seaton Marshes - 11/12/11

Today saw the first cannon netting session of the winter. The first one of the season was due to take place a few weeks before, but due to a lack of duck and water (!) it was called off.

As ever the net was set the previous afternoon by a small team lead by the group leader.

Cannon net set - Seaton Marshes Dec'11 (c) Adrian Bayley

Weather: it remained dry, despite showers before and after the ringing session, 100% cloud cover, light to moderate south west wind, visibility good.

A remarkable 28 people turned up for this ringing session, as usual this total included a good mix of experienced A ringers, C ringers, trainees and helpers.

The team (minus two) - Stafford Marsh Dec'11 (c) Mike Tyler

After a briefing at 7am, the firing team (including qualified cannon netter and group leader Mike Tyler) made their way to the hide, whilst everyone else remained on standby for extraction out of sight.

From the hide, in the early morning gloom it was obvious there were a good number of wildfowl on the lagoon - although this did include about 60 Canada Geese! A small number of Canada Geese were already in the catching area, but with the rest of the flock making a bee line to join them, when all was safe to do so, the net was fired. The time was 07:30.

By 07:40 all birds had been safely extracted from the net thanks to the efforts of the qualified extractors, and experienced helpers.

Canada Geese - Seaton Marshes Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley

Considering the rather mild weather, and limited number of duck in the valley, the catch was respectable, with 63 birds of 5 species processed;

3 Mute Swan (2 retraps)
13 Canada Goose (1 retrap)
11 Shelduck (5 retraps)
22 Wigeon (2 retraps)
14 Mallard (1 retrap)

The Mute Swans were quickly processed and realeased on site. The decision was then taken to transport the rest of the birds to the new classroom on Stafford Marsh, as there was a very real threat of rain.

It takes two to ring a Mute Swan! - Seaton Marshes Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley

Once everything and everyone had arrived safely at Stafford Marsh, the group was split in to three teams.

Team Shelduck - Stafford Marsh Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley

Out of the six unringed Shelduck, five were this year's young (aged 3) - but I wonder if they were born locally or have migrated in from elsewhere?

'Captain Cango' (aka Terry) keeps an eye on Team Canada Goose - Stafford Marsh Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley

Team 'everything else' had the Mallards and Wigeon.

Wigeon 4M left and 3M right; wing and tail shots - Stafford Marsh Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley

The two retrap Wigeon were both ringed at Seaton Marshes. One of them was a 6F ringed by Luke Phillips on 8th January this year, but the other was ringed as a 4F by Peter Robinson on 29th November 2008. This just shows that wintering birds are often site faithful.

After all the birds had been safely processed and released, the team returned to Seaton Marshes to pack away the net.

Packing up - Seaton Marshes Dec '11 (c) Adrian Bayley