The shorebirds are back and Manly during the mid week reccie had several hundred godwit, a few hundred Grey-tailed Tattler and plenty of Red-necked Stint and other species. A team of 6 assembled at 7am to set two nets on the Marina side shoreline and also to trial a new walk-in trap made by David E.
The walk in trap made its inaugural catch of 2 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers just before midday and then was removed as roosting birds started to arrive. Numbers were lower than expected and the birds were clearly still very flighty after migration with the tattler only showing briefly before departing and the godwits being down to about 300. There were good numbers of Red-necked Stint and a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers however.
Once the birds that were coming had settled we started moving them towards the catching areas and started having all kinds of issues getting the birds to move to where we wanted them, with birds moving between both nets and the person on the firing box getting increasingly harassed as various nets were switched and out and back in again.
Eventually, we had birds walking into the catching area and then, the firing box stopped working so had to be dismantled on the fly to get it working. Eventually firing box in pieces but working, a late stint flock landing in the catching area and a successful fire at 1:30pm resulting in a catch of 100 Red-necked Stint of which 16 were recaptures. Many of the recaptures were from a similar catch this time last year with the two oldest recaptures being birds banded in 2009 at Geoff Skinner Reserve at Wellington Point where we caught them in mist nets at night, roosting on the clay pan there.
Thanks to everyone who came along for working so hard and putting up with an unusually irritable leader trying to contend with difficult birds and dodgy equipment. The blood pressure is now back to normal and I’m looking at a very large lump hammer and a very worried looking firing box in the garage. Fortunately we have a new box on order and its on its way as I type, so hopefully we wont have this happen again. Until next time!