Sunday, 21 October 2012

Going grey

A couple of nights ago, during a ringing trip to Ynyslas, I quite literally stumbled into a (not very big) flooded stubble field with over 500 Teal and 100 Snipe in it! I have never seen Teal or Snipe in that number and density before. Unfortunately the ground was so sodden that it was near impossible to sneak up on anything to lamp it and despite my best efforts 1 immature male Teal was all I managed to catch. Given the conditions, lamping probably wasn't the best option.  Last night, having cleared it with the landowner and with some perfect calm conditions to hand, Jane, Brendan and I tried plan B and strung a few mist-nets across the field in hope of much greater things. Having put up 400ft of net we sat back to wait for the big, 500 Teal, 100 Snipe flight-in at dusk, bird bags a plenty at the ready! An early narrow miss of a Short-eared Owl got the heart pumping and built expectation even higher but the flight-in, when it eventually happened, just wasn't that great. I guess the super high tide a few nights earlier and the extremely wet conditions at the time had pushed birds off the estuary and made the field the place to be. In the few days since things had obviously changed! The catch, 1 Teal, 1 Snipe and 2 Jack Snipe certainly wasn't unwelcome but it wasn't up to expectation either!

Female Teal (don't handle enough to be sure what age!).

A good year for Jack Snipe? This is the 6th of the autumn

A consolation lamping session afterwards on nearby fields and on the beach added 3 more Snipe, 1 more Jack Snipe and, by way of a colour-change from recent successes, this stunning immature Grey Plover.

Who says Grey is drab! An absolute stunner!

The pits!

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