Monday 1 April 2013

Wader ringing weekend Pt1: Introduction

Our sincere thanks to the Wash Wader Ringing Group for their invite to join them on a weekend ringing on the shores of The Wash. It was a very cold weekend and an exhausting schedule, but I have to say that we have come away with an increased admiration for the dedication and indeed perseverance of these hardy people.

We all take for granted the plethora of data that is at our fingertips these days and seldom think about the hard work and sacrifice that may have gone into the gathering of this information. When we read about Eurasian Oystercatchers that breed in Norway passing their winters in eastern England, we don't think about those brave souls that trudge across cold and windswept marshes often after dark and up to their nether regions in the freezing North Sea waters to uncover this on our behalf. The next time you read a piece of information about wintering waders or indeed any waders in The Wash spare a thought for these inspirational people as it is almost certain that this bunch of stalwarts had something to do with you receiving this piece of wisdom.

Eurasian Oystercatcher
Our weekend didn't get off to a particularly auspicious start, upon arrival at the 'digs' we discovered that we had forgotten, of all things, our cameras and while we beetled back to Northampton to collect them, the ringers went out to the beach to set up and arm the canon traps for the following morning. We returned to Norfolk before they got back from their chilly night operation and felt rather guilty about missing out on this particular piece of suffering. We consoled ourselves with the excuse that we couldn't have done any photography in any case.

Bar-tailed Godwit

The weekend was to be a fact finding mission, to see how ringing was carried out and of course to see some of our favourite birds up close, what we experienced was not what I was expecting and far more exacting and exhausting that I had allowed for in my mind's eye.

The moment of release.

Well go on then if you're going!

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