Saturday, 6 April 2013

Wader ringing weekend Pt3: Mist netting.

The next new experience for us was the mist netting which was carried out on marshland and not on the beach.

Wild Norfolk marshland... lovely!
In the afternoon two crews were dispatched to erect the nets across a section of the marsh. Elis and I followed one group in this task. On the way out to the marsh a temporary handrail had to be erected for people to cross a ditch where the plank was submerged.

All good boy scouts and girl guides these people!
Walking on the marsh, even in broad daylight can be very hazardous, there are deep gullies that are concealed by standing water,which can be dangerous for the unwary, much care must be taken to watch your feet at all times. If it is that hazardous during the day, imagine then what it must be like to work out there after dark up to your nether regions in chilly North Atlantic water, the mind boggles. As a safety precaution to avoid having unnecessary bods wandering about out there at night (and in my case because I was scared), Elis and I stayed behind in the barn when we returned later for the catch.

Out on the marsh.
Once out at the proposed netting site, the work of putting them up in the wind started.

Despite appearances I am not being given the red card by Nigel... honest!

Part of the group. Miki and Naomi came all the way from Hungary to join in
the weekend. Young Luke on the right looks as though he is looking for
somewhere to stick his stave and guy!

It was noticeable that my help was only called for when they 
needed someone to add their 'weight' to help sink the poles into the mud.

Nigel and Lys take the strain!

The wind was certainly not helping, but reports promised it would drop
before nightfall.

Teamwork is the essence of success.
The other team working in the distance.
Once the nets were firmly in their place the group inspected an old whale skull that had been washed up years ago.
News flash! A whale skull has been found on the marsh, a group of ringers
is looking into it! 
The nets all prepared, as the sun set we left the marsh, some though not for the last time that day.


Later on after supper when it was dark we returned to the marsh to see what birds we could collect. It was not a huge haul by local standards but the result was 28 Dunlin, 4 Common Redshank and a single Red Knot. As the catch was so small it was decided to transport them back to base for ringing and processing.

Dunlin

Redshank being ringed.
Measurements being taken.

Dunlin being ringed

Another Dunlin being ringed.

Nigel and Jacquie Clark who's dedication is to be admired.

Our single Knot

The work went on well into the night...

... and still 10 birds to ring!

but eventually the birds were returned to the marsh for release and we all hit the sack exhausted.

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