Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Double, double toil & trouble.

A private demonstration for a dozen locals and volunteers at the new Sandy Smith reserve at Beadlow last Thursday evening proved eventful. Sedge, Reed, 3 Whitethroat and a Wren were taken with two nets near the small, overgrown pond. On the final net round to take down, 19 LTT were waiting. With the help of my old mate Pete Smith, who bought this tract of former farmland for the Greensand Trust, they were soon on their way back to the car for some "number plates". As luck would have it, the rain, which had held off, now came with a vengeance. I've never ringed under a large golfing umbrella before! Willing hands held the 5 bags into which the ringed Lottis went so that they could all go at once. That was the easy bit - had to take the nets in as it got dark and while it was still pissing down. The nets went in the airing cupboard - but I couldn't fit in.

The Barnacle Goose round-up came to nought. With just 3 experienced ringers (that were scattered across three counties) and no transport for the fencing, this year's was called off at the last minute. Having to go to site anyway, in case a stray canoeist turned up, I went on to our oldest CES site. Guy and co managed to trap 38 birds despite the force 4-5 wind whipping across the airfield. They had put up an extra 180' of net, though; the birds caught in these will be excluded from the survey total, unfortunately.

With better weather forecast for today (Wed), I had hoped to put up all 4 nets around two sides of the (dodgy) reed-bed. However, the trainee cried off sick and so it became a mere 2 nets for a couple of very early hours.
14 birds were caught of which 8 were new. A good job they were all A's (one retrap was an AA) as I had left all the 4 small ring sizes on the dining room table; I did have 400 unused A's in the box. What a blessing!

The goose round-up has been scheduled for 10 July next year, the week before the Bedford River Festival. I have put the rings back in the box. The nets are now dry.

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