It was marvellous to join a cannon-netting squad, COVID-19 proofed and ready on the sands between Ainsdale and Birkdale today.
With permissions sought from Natural England and my employers’ Green Sefton, a small band drawing ringers from Bangor Uni, Leeds Uni and ringing groups from across the north of England fired over the high tide and caught 70 Dunlin, 68 Knot and just shy of 700 Sanderling.
Great to see the South West Lancs Ringing Group represented by Ian Wolfenden. Tony Duckels would have loved it.
The Knot, all bar one second year birds, were given orange flags above pale blue rings – look out for them on the estuary over the coming years.
One bird was still peachy, as were a few of the Sanderling.
While I kept passersby at bay until firing (thanks to everyone I spoke to for their understanding), the ringers were then kept busy for the best part of three hours processing the waders.
Almost made me want to pick up a pair of ringing pliers again…
One of the trapped Sanderlings was a colour-ringed bird with a sequence from Southern Spain (although the same sequence is sometimes used in North Africa – thanks for the gen Richard du Feu).
For those fascinated by races, all the Dunlin were schinzii apart from one alpina.
Watching the experts processing, aging, measuring and safely releasing the birds was mighty impressive. Must be 40 years since I last joined a cannon-netting session.
Appreciation to the ringers for doing such a great job – I’m looking forward to keeping an eye out for those colour-flagged Knot at Ainsdale over the coming years…
Apart from the main show, over 300 Sandwich Terns, with at least 18 youngsters were in the roost, but I didn’t really have the time to grill them properly.