11th March 2011
Operation Godwit International Team ring godwits and other shorebirds in Portugal.
Team members in the photo
from left to right:
Pete Pott one of the team organisers, holding a godwit in the photo above, sent us this report:
An exciting trip to Portugal to look for Black-tailed
Godwits on the Tagus Estuary close to the capital city of Lisbon. Ten
godwit experts visited the estuary between 12th and 23rd February and
3 more birding friends joining them later towards the end of the expedition.
All hands on deck! Team members
setting a cannon-net. (photo
© Manuel Lima)
Removing godwits from the cannon net at Corroios with old tide mill and museum in the background. (photo © Manuel Lima)
Part of the huge flock of over 27,000 black-tailed godwits seen during the trip. (photo © Elisabeth Price)
Ringing, measuring and examining
the godwits. (photo
© Manuel Lima)
So far we have colour-ringed just over 200 Sanderlings on the Tagus
since we started in November 2009 and have had sightings in Mauritania,
Spain, France, The Netherlands, UK & Iceland!
Ruth Croger with a colour ringed godwit. (photo © José Alves )
We equaled the November 2008 trip for number of successful catches although we fired the cannon-nets 9 times on that trip but twice we caught no birds! However, we caught and processed 203 birds this time as against 143 on that trip so well done team!
We also had our second largest Portuguese catch and only the third
double figure catch on our trips to the Tagus. The potential for large
catches is increasing as we get to know the sites, increasing our knowledge
of the tides and how birds use the various roost sites. One day we will
strike lucky and catch a lot of small waders for sure not forgetting
Pedro and Hilger ringing and examining Ringed Plovers before release. (photo © Afonso Rocha)
On the Operation Godwit trips to Portugal the Farlington Ringing Group lead group have now caught c.1200 waders of 16 species of wader with cannon-nets over 10 trips in 35 successful catches around the Tagus estuary. On our trips we have caught birds ringed abroad as follows:
Redshank from The Netherlands & Germany (details still awaited) Avocet from Spain & Sweden (details still awaited on latter) Ringed Plover from Iceland Black-tailed Godwits from Iceland, The Netherlands & UK Sanderling from Iceland - and a Black-headed Gull from Belgium!
The team also spend a lot of time reading rings with telescopes on
shorebirds around the estuaries and adjacent salinas (salt pans) while
we search for ringed Godwits. We have noted many colour-ringed birds
These birds have been ringed all over Europe. For example: Spoonbills
from France and Holland, Flamingos from Spain, France and one from Italy,
Avocets from France, Germany and Spain, Black-headed Gull from UK, Lesser
Black-backed Gulls from UK, Holland and Iceland.
Carol & Dudley Hird release
a godwit: they hope to see it again in Kent on their local patch on
the Medway estuary in the coming weeks.They have seen Portuguese ringed
godwits there before in March on spring migration! Fingers crossed.
(photo © David Price)
Many thanks to Pete Potts for this exciting report, to José Alves, Manuel Lima, David Price, Elisabeth Price, Afonso Rocha, and others for all their excellent photos and finally all those in the team for all their hard work.