Monday 30 December 2013

End of year activities

The weather permitted two sessions during December, the first on 17th, with a night-time catch of waders. Normally small catches are made and this evening was not different, catching three Curlew, five Oystercatchers and one Bar-tailed Godwit. The latter was a bonus and a first for the Group. Small numbers of this Godwit are recorded on the Estuary.

Hoping our last cannon-net catch yesterday would be good, but alas only one Moorhen and two Shelduck were caught. Although 90+ duck were on the lagoon the ice close to the catching area appeared to make the duck suspicious something was wrong. The few birds did not spoil the public demonstration of bird ringing. Members of the public, especially the children were very attentive.

Eye comparison of three Oystercatchers showing in the foreground the brown eye of a juvenile (Copyright Fraser Rush)

The bonus wader - Bar-tailed Godwit (Copyright Fraser Rush)

Comparing two juvenile Shelduck to ascertain which are male and female (Copyright Adrian Bayley)

Neil showing attentive children and adults the finer points of a Moorhen plumage (Copyright Adrian Bayley)

Sunday 8 December 2013

Ducks scared of Christmas

With 20 volunteers from all adjoining counties to Devon assembled at daybreak with the view of having a reasonable catch of duck. Alas up to 60 Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard and a few Black-tailed Godwits chose to linger away from our net. Were they afraid of being caught may have exposed them to becoming a festive dinner! Anyway they got the better of us. The team were very good spirited even after waiting patiently for three hours without success. It turned into a friendly social get together.

Carefully storing the cannon-net which stayed dry for a change (Photo Adrian Bayley)

Are you sure that Heron was carrying a fish that big! (Photo Adrian Bayley)