2 Sept 2023

Wader ringing at Hoylake

Thanks to Alan & Kieran for letting me tag along on a Merseyside Ringing Group mist netting evening at Hoylake recently. We arrived at 21.00 to find a noisy party going on next door to Janes house that we were using as a ringing base. Apparently it was to celebrate GCSE results. Luckily it was all over by 23.00. With a small team and literally thousands of birds around it was decided to only set three nets at 90 degrees to the tide edge. Once the tide was in the nets would be over water so they were set high to ensure no birds got wet. 

Through the thermal imager we could see birds moving around as well as hear them and we didn't have to wait long vbefore we caought our first birds - two Oystercatchers. Birds were taken to Janes house to ring and although we only caught 27 birds there was a good variety of Dunlin, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Knot and an adult Sandwich Tern! 

The Knot were colour flagged as part of an ongoing project and the number of juveniles caught indicated a good breeding season.It also gave us the opportunity to compare adult and fresh juvenile plumages before the juveniles get very worn later in the year. See photos below:

Sanderling are always nice to see in the hand and the ones we caught were no exception. 
Sanderling are unusual in that they don't have a hind toe. Apparently this is an adaptation to allow them to run fast over hard sand without the drag of a hind toe.

Several Dunlin were caught including an extremely worn adult which will now undergo its post breeding moult on its wintering grounds presumably in the UK.

Ringing at Janes place is very civilised and this session was no exception. Copious quantities of fresh teas and homemade onion bhaji's kept us going until we eventually finished at around 2.30 am the following morning. I got home around 3.00 am and was awake again by 06.00!