Saturday, 9 February 2013

We got Godwits!

The last week or so has been fairly quiet. Very little birding and even less ringing. The highlight being the reappearance of a Firecrest in the garden at the end of last week. Today however I had a day off and went over to join the guys on the Axe Estuary for one of their canon net catches. As usual everything went to plan and we ended up with nearly 50 birds. Largely made up of Shelduck but 6 Black-tailed Godwits were a real surprise. The group have caught Godwits before but their appearance in the catching area is very sporadic. Steve and myself have managed to miss the godwit catches before so we were both very pleased to get a good look at a new species (in the hand!) for both of us.

Sorry about the picture quality, it was taken on my phone and the light wasn't very good!!

I don’t get to study many waders in the hand so todays catch was a brilliant opportunity to get to grips with a new species. I must add that I gave up the chance to ring one, I left that to the guys who were training. I was more than happy just having the chance to add a little extra knowledge into my head.

Also, a slight plee. The Axe team have been ringing Shelduck for quite some time. I’ve mentioned it a few times on this blog before. However, considering the numbers wearing colour rings, they aren’t often sighted. Very few reports have been coming back and surprisingly few from the Axe Estuary.  The most important ringing data comes from recaptures or in this case, re-sightings. Even if a bird hasn’t left a site, it’s interesting to know that it didn’t. Things like site fidelity and longevity are great things to know about a species. At Radipole we have a lot of colour ringed coot but in over three years of working their I’ve only been asked about them less than 10 times. Its important, if possible, to always report and ringed bird.

So pretty please folks, keep an eye out for colour ringed birds, especially our Shelduck from the Axe. A few weeks ago we got our first Dorset sighting which was at Abbotsbury Swannery but there must be more out there! They’ve got a yellow ring with two letter inscribed by the way…

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