A very unusual session supporting ERB at the ringing station. It had not been especially busy and we had no success attempting to capture any of the large flock of mainly juvenile House Martin that had been frequenting the area above the ringing site, and Snipe's Pool in particular over the past few days. We had a net up but it was just too windy and the birds consistently flew above and around our only hope of capturing them.
However, a Sparrowhawk had been around all morning, upsetting the birds around the station feeders and also disturbing a large flock of Curlew from nearby fields. The Sprawk had made an earlier unsuccessful attempt at the 100+ flock of House Martins. It seems likely that a second try resulted in birds dropping too close to the ground and in the urgency to evade the predator some birds became bogged down in a muddy area of the pool, still only half full following the summer drought. The birds were noticed by one of the bird watchers and a party went down to see whether any could be reached.
All needed the copious mud to be rinsed away, but after drying off and spending a little time in a dry bird bag and warming up under a ringer's jacket all were processed and released successfully to rejoin the flock.