Brent Goose Catch 4th March 2020 at Blue House Farm
A mid week team took a final catch of 15 Brent Geese at Blue House Farm today. There were still plenty of birds around but they were jumpy and flighty today and a second set with birds on the field which looked good finally failed when four calling birds flying over pulled the whole flock off of the field and we lost them back to the river. Huge thanks to the Essex Wildlife Trust at Blue House Farm and their continued support and enthusiasm are key to this project and the success which has now seen us colour ring 67 Brent Geese in the Crouch Estuary in the last three winters. We are fairly confident that in the next year or two we will take a larger catch on this site as we do now seem to have worked out how to catch birds here.
The following are a selection of pictures by Adam Wilson from the session today.
Setting the net.
Extracting the catch
Gary with his first Brent Goose
A Juvenile bird
Harry taking a wing measurement
Previously satellite tracked bird
Brent Geese catch at Blue House Farm 11th January 2020
A very windy day on 11th January but we decided to make an attempt at Blue House Farm for Brent Geese as the wind was not forecast to get up until about lunch time. We set before light two full nets one into a drinking pool on Boat Yard Field. Birds started to come onto the farm around 9am but none into Boat Yard. A few pairs and individual birds showed some interest in the decoys but none stayed for long all seeming to be a little suspicious once the landed close to the decoys (which they all did). We decided to move the birds from other fields to see if we could encourage birds onto Boat Yard Field, several of the team were sent to flush flocks and block fields. This was effective and after a while we had around 200 birds on Boat Yard field but some way from the net. Patience this time was the name of the game and we waited for over an hour before around 20 of the flock were in the catching area drinking from the pool. As we only had a small team and we had seen a lot of dog walkers which we were concerned might spook the birds at any moment we decided to take the catch rather than wait for more birds to move into the catching area. We decided to deploy both nets resulting in a catch of 16 birds. A good lift and extraction and all birds were speedily processed and corralled in the trailer ready for release as one flock. The release saw all birds go off well with no issues as a single flock keeping family parties together.
Brent Goose Catch 23rd December 2019
A small team took a small catch of four Brent Geese on 23rd December at Blue House Farm. The catch was a family party consisting of two adults and two juveniles. The adult male was fitted with a satellite neck collar and the female and one juvenile fitted with two glue mounted back pack satellite trackers which we hope to follow over the next few months.
The Southern Colour Ringing Group catches Brent Geese using a cannon net, which involves firing a large net over birds feeding on grazed fields or salt marsh.
Once the net is set and the cannons connected, we wait for geese to be attracted to decoys we have put in the field near the set net. When enough geese are in the area and it is safe to do so, the net is fired.
The team of ringers then removes the geese from under the net and temporarily places them in hessian sacks which are stored in a holding area for processing. Birds are then aged and fitted with an uniquely numbered metal ring. Measurements may be taken to help identify the sex of each goose. We also fit colour rings (green rings with white letters and a two digit code) which allows the birds to be relocated without needing to be recaptured. There are many more bird-watchers looking for colour-ringed birds, than there are cannon netting teams, so this greatly improves our chances of understanding the movements of the birds from the Crouch Estuary.