Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sanderling SCAN catch - Kinmel Bay, Rhyl - 20th March 2011

(Photo: Chris Bridge)
Spring is on its way so anything ornithological based is all systems go! Ringing is certainly one of these affected as everything is on the move so migrants are being picked up and wintering birds are providing their last opportunities to be caught. I thought SCAN had finished for the winter, but an email from Steve Dodd alerted me that there was one last catch that would be attempted on the 12th March. Arriving on site, Steve realised that the tide would be too low and we would have a good chance of catching nothing so it was postponed to the following weekend.
Arriving on site at 07.30 with Chris, Kane and Hamza, we were eager to set up the nets due to a fabulous count the previous day of 160 Sanderling and 40+ Turnstone. Sanderling in North Wales certainly aren't common!
We fired one of the nets at 10.30 after Chris and Robin Sandham managed to twinkle Sanderling down the beach into the catching area and I managed to lift the Turnstone roosting on the River Clwyd to the catching area.
(Photo: Chris Bridge)
Superbly we caught an impressive 114 birds with totals being 61 Sanderling (3 juv), 17 Dunlin (all juv) and 36 Turnstone (4 recap).
Once all birds had been extracted, it was time to ring and process all the birds. Robin and I ringed all the Sanderling and Dunling, plus 20 of the Turnstone, with Steve scribing age and ring. The processing team consisted of Rachel measuring wing (plus tarsus and foot of Sanderling), Kane doing head and bill, and Chris weighing. All of which was expertly scribed by Kelvin Jones.
I wasn't expecting to catch any Dunlin as we were only targeting Sanderling and Turnstone. It was nice to be able to hold one of my favourite birds again and also compare them to Sanderling side by side (apologies for no pictures of this!)

(Photo: Chris Bridge)
There real reason for this catch was to target an individual Turnstone which had been seen in the previous weeks carrying a Norwegian ring, but the whole code wasn't read in the field. One of the last birds we extracted had a ring on it's tarsus (unusual for Turnstone (we do them above the knee)) and low and behold, we had caught the target bird...RESULT! I will post details on this bird in due course when data is received.

I decided that it may be a large catch the night before (somewhat optimistically I'll admit!) so I thought I would leave my cameras back in Bangor and concentrate on the ringing of the birds. This was for several reasons, but mainly because when I'm concentrating on photographing birds, I don't actually look at them which is bad! This allowed me to sit in with the processing team and measure the head and bill of Turnstone which was a new experience and something I really enjoyed once I got into a rhythm.

Overall I have nothing but positives about today's catch as everything went to plan and I got to handle some wonderful species and again got the hang of different ring sizes. Thanks to everyone who attended for a truly amazing day, and specific thanks to Hamza for the lift, and Steve for the invite!


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Just to make it harder for you... again, Zac

Lovin those sanderlings



Zac Hinchcliffe said...

Haha you'd have thought I would agree with you that it is harder, but in actual fact, nothing has changed. The Amsterdam Island Albatross is registered as a seperate subspecies in the 'bible' but is described as though it is seperate. As a result, I already have it...ha!

cheers for the heads up anyway!