Wednesday 1 April 2009

Wader Fondling, Water Pipits and Waffling.

I've been feeling a bit out of sorts lately and just haven't been able to blog, 'blogger's block' perhaps? I don't know. This means that anything I put on here now is going to be old news. It is going to be mainly photos though, you'll no doubt be pleased to hear, well at least some of you will! It has been relayed to me by my 'network of contacts' that some people have said something like" She don't half waffle on!" I'm not mentioning any names though (Derek from Burton on Trent). If you find my waffling a bit tedious you can just look at the pictures... or not.

On Monday evening the Axe Estuary Ringing Group were mist netting for waders on the Colyford scrape. Steve has already mentioned that we caught 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Redshanks and 3 Curlews. We started at 5.30 PM and finished at midnight! It was all good fun and we got extremely muddy. I really like ringing and if I'm totally honest I'd have to admit that I'm mainly in it for the fondling!

Anyway here are a few photos I took during the evening:

This Black-tailed Godwit was fitted with these colour rings last October and has been on the estuary all winter. The next morning he was back out on the estuary 'doing his thing'....

.... like so.

Fraser and Mike examine the plumage to ascertain the age of one of the new birds.
As well as getting to fondle a Blackwit, which was nice, I found out something about them that I didn't know. They really stink!! Even BEFORE they've pooed all over you!

Terry processed this bird but I fitted the colour rings. The yellow/red/yellow on the right leg signifies it's an AERG bird and the green/orange/green on the left identifies the bird. When I see it it will always be GOG to me. The other three new birds are, GOL, GOY and GOO. It will be interesting to see where they turn up next winter. All four of the new birds were seen in with the flock on the estuary the next day, unfortunately too distant for decent photos...

... so here's a snap of one we didn't ring, it's sporting some lovely summer-ish plumage though.

This photo gives you an idea of just how muddy we all got.

One of the Redshank

The other two.

One of the three Curlews we caught. This one was a 'first winter' male. I processed one of them myself and I really felt privileged to able to handle such a superb bird.

Mike (for some reason) was 'having words' with this Curlew (being held by Catherine)

After taking a couple of hours to erect all of the nets we were momentarily on tenterhooks when ten of the Mute Swan flock took off from the field at Steadcombe , circled around and headed straight for the scrape, they saw the nets and flew just over the top of them. Phew! We were wondering just how far up the valley they would have carried our nets, it would certainly have made a bit of a mess!!

As Steve has mentioned, we saw and could later hear, a Little Ringed Plover in the vicinity, so next morning I headed back down there hoping to see it again. On the way there I had a call from Ian telling me of summer plumaged Water Pipits and I'm very happy to say they were still showing well when I arrived. They really were worth waiting for too (having failed to see one last year, or ever). One ventured onto the back of the scrape giving really good views, which prompted Ian to suggest I try for a photo. Bearing in mind that I hadn't even managed a half decent shot of a duck at that range before I should have flatly refused to humiliate myself. I didn't!

Is this the world's worst photo... let's call it a poor record shot shall we?
Hold on. there is another contender...

This one truly IS the world's worst photo. I'll tell you it's of the two LRPs that were on the scrape, coz you'd never guess!

To massage my ego a bit after those embarrassing efforts here's one I took earlier, last year in fact. But it's a good opportunity to give it another outing. They both looked exactly like this.

Here's a Wheatear.
One of seven I saw on Beer Head on Monday morning. I think this photo makes my 'blog Wheatear total' ten. I've lost count already.

I've put on a photo of Bramble too. Today it was exactly two months since I found him on February 1st. I was due to take him in to the vets this morning, to have him euthanased because his teeth had grown back as bad as ever. However, he must have thought I'd spent enough money trying to save his life already because when I got up this morning he was in a coma, and died a short while later . Since finding him I've spent in excess of £150, so you could say I'm poorer but richer for the experience :-(


Gavin Haig said...

Waffle away girl! Always a delightful read, and I've missed it too.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks everso for the kind comments :-)