Monday 24 January 2011

Shovelers and Great White Egrets Galore!

It's been quite an eventful weekend, with cannon netting at Seaton Marshes on Saturday and a trip to the Somerset Levels on Sunday. The cannon netting was especially exiting as we caught no less than EIGHT Shovelers! That's more than half of the birds present on the estuary at the moment. Iv'e never seen Shoveler in the hand before having missed the session when the group's first two were caught. There were too many ringers and trainees present for me to have been able to ring one of these eight though :-(  I did ring a lovely female Teal and a couple of Shelduck though.
This is the female Teal. Take a close up look at her bill...
... what a beautiful marbled effect. I hadn't noticed this before.
 Enough Shovelers for everyone? Not quite.

Stunning iridescent blue and green on the wings.
 the shovel ...
... with built in sieve. 
 Here the team are ringing Shelduck. This year we're fitting them with Darvic rings... so. 
Hopefully some will be noted as breeding birds in the valley this summer. Or perhaps our breeding population winter elsewhere? We'll soon find out.

Steve breaking the ice in the lagoon. Purely the ducks' benefit, obviously!!
Why else!! ;-)
The large and happy team pose for maximum comedy effect (well I did!).
The AERG are always joined by many visiting ringers when cannon netting.

So to Sunday. Bun and my good self drove up to the Somerset Levels to see the six, yes SIX Great White Egrets, which have been seen there this week. We looked on the Ham Wall side first where there were an impressive five birds. We then saw the sixth bird on the Shapwick Heath side. What an incredible gathering. I wonder if any more will find their way to this great reserve during the remainder of the winter. Surely some will breed in Britain somewhere this spring/summer. In just one day I tripled my Great White Egret total from just three to NINE! Unfortunately there wasn't an opportunity to get a photo of a  large group as four of them remained in amongst the reeds. I took a couple of shots of the one out in the open on the lagoon though. We both had a few more nice year-ticks here too. Mine being Marsh Harrier, Siskin, Gadwall and Pochard (yes really) Missed out on Lesser Redpoll, Bittern ( usually a dead cert here), Whooper Swan and most frustratingly Great Grey Shrike, which  didn't put in an appearance until the afternoon ... After we'd left! Grrr... Dipped the Alyesbeare one about three times this month too!

Two year-ticks in this photo: Great White Egret and Gadwall!

To finish, here's my attempt at photographing a nice Lunar Corona I saw a few nights ago.
Must try harder... You get the idea though.


Unknown said...

Never done Shoveler before.... and not cannon netted for years, great fun tho and looks like you had a good catch. Nice pics of the Egret to.


Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Dave, I've not done shoveler either ;-( It was great to just get to hold one though! :-) Canon netting is great fun apart from the running....I hate that bit!!