Devon and Cornwall Wader Ringing Group

setting mist nets - Tim Frayling.jpg

Dunlin 20191116 Dawlish Warren DCWRGDunlin colour-ringed on 16 Nov 2019 © A J BellamyThe 16th November brought another nocturnal suitable height spring tide (3.6m at 20:53) and with it our next mist-netting session. Conditions looked favourable with light cloud and no wind, so the team were hopeful for a useful catch despite the bright moon. The target for the mist-netting sessions of juvenile Oystercatchers remained, with 8 GPS-UHF tags still to deploy for winter 2019/20.

The team assembled at 1600, met by session leader Nik Ward who was suffering with the most non-existent streaming cold imaginable (get well soon Nik). Well 1600ish…all except Ryan Burrell and Thomas Weston who were 30 minutes late, though they were let them off as they had driven straight to Dawlish from the Solent via the DCWRG kit store, as they had been cannon-netting at dawn for a tracking study with Farlington Ringing Group and GWCT.

Greenshank 20191116 Dawlish Warren DCWRGGreenshank ringed on 16 Nov 2019 © A J BellamyThe mist-nets were set around the island roost, in an effort to maximise the chances of catching juvenile Oystercatchers, tape lures deployed then the team waited for the tide to bring the birds to roost. As the tide rose, single Dunlin were caught, ringed and colour-marked then just before high tide, a juvenile Knot and Greenshank were both caught. The latter being the first Greenshank caught on the estuary since the restart of DCWRG last year.

Although, no juvenile Oystercatchers were caught, getting the ball rolling on our Dunlin colour-mark project was great! We have our fingers crossed that resighting data from this project will provide further information on the site use and survival of Dunlin using the Exe Estuary as with the Oystercatcher Project. Plus, we of course needed to provide our committed team of observers with more of a challenge as they appear far too successful at reading Oystercatcher colour-rings. This was the thought at least, but it did not last long with Lee Collins, one of our key ring readers, resighting Dunlin “xx//Bw(AE) – xx//Rm” the next morning. Hopefully, this resighting will be the first of many.

Thanks as always go to all those involved from DCWRG, Natural England for purchasing the colour-rings and Teignbridge Council and Warren Golf Club for their on-going support of DCWRG projects.

Project Background

The use of mist-nets on high tides during the hours of darkness is less selective in which species are caught, but this technique provides us with  additional opportunities to catch and ring waders in the region. A mist-net catch can usually be managed with a smaller team and without the need for a specialist cannon net license holder or the preparatory work needed to reconnaisace precise roost sites and set cannon nets in advance of the planned catch tide.

Our focus on the Exe estuary is the wintering Oystercatcher population and this species is our primary target for mist-netting as we aim to catch birds flying into the high-tide roosts.

Oystercatchers are faithful to wintering sites so the birds you have seen here years ago may be the same ones now. The oldest Dawlish Warren Oystercatcher on record is at least 36 years old, last seen in Jan 2018.

If you see a bird with one of our colour rings, please use the form on this website to send us the details (ring-code, date, location, species) or you can send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Mist-netting totals

2019 year totals

Species Ringed Retraps Controls Colour ringed
Oystercatcher 3 0 0 3
Dunlin 5 0 0 5
Redshank 3 0 0 0
Knot 1 0 0 0
Greenshank 1 0 0 0

2020 year totals

Species Ringed Retraps Controls Colour ringed
Oystercatcher 11 0 0 10
Dunlin 3 0 0 3
Redshank 8 0 0 0
Curlew 17 0 0 17
Bar-tailed Godwit 15 0 0 0
Black-tailed Godwit 1 0 0 0
Grey Plover 2 0 0 2
Lapwing 2 0 0 0
Woodcock 1 0 0 0

Grand totals

Species Ringed Retraps Controls Colour ringed
Oystercatcher 35 0 0 33
Dunlin 12 0 0 8
Redshank 11 0 0 0
Curlew 17 0 0 17
Bar-tailed Godwit 15 0 0 0
Black-tailed Godwit 1 0 0 0
Grey Plover 2 0 0 2
Lapwing 2 0 0 0
Woodcock 1 0 0 0
Knot 1 0 0 0
Greenshank 1 0 0 0

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