Swale Wader Group

 

A COVID-compliant team of six made the final catch of the year on the night of Saturday 12th December. Although conditions were acceptable; no moon, cloud, but more wind than ideal.

Catching was slow until just before high tide when 50 Knot hit the nets. In the end we caught 80 birds comprising: 54 Knot, 10 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Redshank, 1 Curlew and 1 Mallard.

We retrapped three birds. A Bar-tailed Godwit was ringed at Shellness on 9 March 1997 and at 23 years, 9 months and 3 days is the oldest wader retrap on the Swale, beating a Curlew and a Grey Plover also at 23 years plus. The Redshank was ringed in October 2015. The Black-tailed Godwit was first ringed in September 2017 when it was also colour ringed. It has been resighted on 95 occasions, mainly at Oare but also at Conyer, Motney, Elmley and Seasalter.

We have ringed 130 Knot this year and 77 in 2019. We have only ringed 500 in total since 1978 and we are not sure why we have caught so many in the last two years. The numbers using the Swale as recorded in the WeBS counts have not changed.