Friday, 15 March 2013

Thetford Dipper and Wild Goose Chase

After having settled into my rented accommodation in Thetford and completed my first week working for the BTO I was looking forward to the first wader ringing trip of the year with the Wash Wader Ringing Group.

There were no plans to catch on the Saturday morning, instead the team was split, perhaps a little unequally, between carrying out recces at regular cannon netting sites and travelling to Thetford in an attempt to catch some Greylags on the BTO Nunnery Lakes reserve. These would be fitted with darvic neck collars, each engraved with a three letter combination allowing individuals to be identified in the field.

This meant that I managed a lay in and met the rest of the group on the reserve. A single cannon net was quickly set and we retreated to our vehicles and waited for the geese to arrive. All eight of them! After a lot of deliberation and unproductive wild goose chases around the lakes (no more were located), Nigel and Phil decided to fire on this small group. Somehow several escaped leaving just ith two Greylags and a Mallard. One goose was a retrap so just needed a neck collar and straws were drawn to ring the remaining goose and the Mallard. While the birds were processed the net was packed away and we were ready to head back to the Wash - via the Nuns Bridges to look for the Black-bellied Dipper.

After the thrill of seeing a pair of Otters, a bit of pleasant strolling up and down the rivers saw us heading west with a 'circus' of twitchers towards a sluice where the Dipper has been seen before. From the gathered throng it was clear we we were in the right place and the bird - which had, for a Dipper, made an epic journey from Europe - was bathing in the media limelight.

Black-bellied Dipper in Thetford

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