2 Sep 2014

Ringed Plover and a Knot!

With wader numbers building up it was time for the SCAN ringing groups first autumn foray out to N Wales canon netting waders. The target were Ringed Plover with each bird being individually marked wit ha yellow numbered / lettered flag and a single red colour ring. The idea of the red colour ring is to draw attention to the fact the bird is ringed and hopefully get people to study it more closely to pick up the flag combination. The purpose of the study is to try and see how the birds move around and how this impacts WeBS Counts (more on WeBS counts here: ).

As usual with canon netting the setting up involved more hard labour than in the Alabama State Prison - especially as someone had nicked all the lump hammers from the lock up so we had to resort to banging metal pegs into a rocky beach with rocks! - followed by hours of inactivity lying on your back watching the sky whilst getting rained on and / or burnt to a crisp by the sun, whilst the flooding tide hopefully forces the waders up the boost to a site where the previous days recce suggests they should roost.

This time we were successful and the canons were fired resulting in a catch of 100 odd birds among which were 50 Ringed Plover, a good number of Dunlin, a smattering of Sanderling and a ringing tick for me in the shape of a single juvenile Knot. The Knot's plumage was gorgeous with the typical juvenile black sub-terminal bands and buff fringing to the feathers.

I ringed the Knot and then spent most of the session helping Rachel fit the colour rings. A messy job as the edges of the rings have to be glued to ensure they don't fall off to quickly. We also caught a few flagged birds from previous sessions and the data will be helpful in seeing how loyal these birds are to a single stretch of coast line.
 Adult Ringed Plover above & below.

 Juvenile Ringed Plover above & below. Note the fingers covered in Marley glue.

KC being fitted with his colour rings.

A great day although exhausting. Being outside all day and humping heavy wet nets and sacking around in chest waders makes for a good appetite!

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