We were to join the Swale Wader Group for a night-time catch, so travelled down early to spend the last hour or so of daylight at Capel Fleet. The raptor roost was disappointing with only 8 Marsh Harriers coming in, but it was a real treat to watch Starlings and Pied Wagtails at their pre-roost activities. There were also some 30 Swallows that flew low all around the viewing area, darting between the vehicles and bushes as a sharp shower of rain was swiftly followed by a rainbow, the birds providing what seemed to be one last echo of summer as autumn advanced. Chris found a Reed Warbler skulking among the reeds and there was also a solitary Bearded Tit hidden among the reeds growing within a ditch.
After dinner at the Harty Ferry Inn, we met up at the potato barn. The night could not have been better. It was a clear night with little wind as we set up. Everything went smoothly, except the part where Chris got stuck in the gloop and unfortunately fell over.
Birds had been trying to come in as we put up the last nets and they continued to be very vocal from the air and the pools, and once extracting started it was great to have birds going into the nets as we were extracting. For a time it seemed as though the bags might run out but there were just enough. The catch of Black-tailed Godwit was particularly impressive, considering the maximum catch for any previous year was just 10, a third of the night's catch. These birds were colour-ringed, until the combinations ran out. We finished just before 3am and after a swift drive back got in at around 5am.
Bar and Black-tailed Godwits post processing, waiting to go of their own accord
Total: 111 (5)
Shelduck -1, Juvenile
Avocet - 1, Adult
Grey Plover - 5, 2 juveniles, plus a retrap from September 2010
Knot - 5, 4 juveniles
Dunlin - 50, plus two retraps one of which was 10 years old
Ruff - 1, juvenile female
Black-tailed Godwit - 30, only 1 juvenile
Bar-tailed Godwit - 10, plus 2 retraps one from 2002 and 1 from 1995
Curlew - 4, 3 of which were adults
Redshank - 4, all adults