Thursday, 13 October 2011

Messing about on the river... and canal, and lake, and fish-farm!!

Last night I nipped out with Amy, to a couple of local Dipper roosts as she was as keen as mustard to go "dippering".  A couple of duff bridges to start off with dampened her enthusiasm a bit but perseverance and an old railway tunnel eventually paid off in more ways than one. Four dippers were present, 3 were caught, one of which was a control of a chick I had ringed earlier in the year in South Shropshire, 32 kms away!!  For anyone who rings migrants that's equivalent to the South of Spain or Morocco!!

That's bird bags down the front of my waders, not just too much dinner!!

A future help in changing the age and gender bias in ringing?  Maybe, but I'm not pushing it!

After a few hours sleep I was up again at 2 am and off to meet Adrienne Stratford for a pre-dawn attempt to catch an un-ringed Chough at an isolated inland site in North Wales. Checked a few more bridges and caught another 5 Dippers on the way!

We met Mike Jones, a local contact, at 5.30 am and headed off into the old slate quarry. After successfully scrambling down into the cavern, in the murk and darkness, and stealthily erecting a net we discovered to our great disappointment that the Choughs had decided to sleep elsewhere that night!!

An early start for swan ringing in Shropshire then. During the day Adrienne and I ringed 20 more swans on the rivers, canals and lakes around Shrewsbury and Telford, including probably my best catch ever - no point trying to explain, you just had to be there to appreciate it!!  No unplanned swimming though and the only change of trousers required resulted from a very over-productive cygnet - what the hell had it been eating?!!

XU7 was ringed as an adult in 1993 so she is at least 20 years old and still on her original Darvic ring.

Calmly watching Adrienne with her only cygnet - but she has seen it all before, lots of times!

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