Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Caerlaverock Swan Catch.

Today we had our first swan catch of the winter and instead of heading home from Scotland on Sunday - I decided to stay up until Tuesday. So a team of WWT staff, volunteers & local ringers all met at WWT Caerlaverock on the Solway Firth.

When talking to members of the public at WWT reserves - I'm often asked how do we catch the birds and so I thought I would take a series of photos and display them here... During the winter the birds get fed four times daily and this allows members of the public to see the birds up close - it also allows us to entice them into our decoys aka swan pipes.

Once the head warden & catch organiser feels we have enough birds to cope with - a line is pulled (which travels underground) and this releases the ''door'' a net suspended from the roof of the pipe - capturing the birds. It is at this point the adrenaline rushes through you - and everyone runs out and into the pipe to get behind the birds to get everything under control. Once we've formed a line in the water - we slowly walk the birds to the top of the pipe - where birds are separated.

Swans & geese get penned up and the ducks get placed into crates until ringing can begin. Ducks are then taken out - ringed, aged, weighed and swabbed before being relased. Whooper & Mute Swans are ringed with both BTO metal rings & darvic rings, aged, weighed, have their skull & tarsus measured, (Whoopers) have their bills photographed, swabbed and then released.

Birds caught - Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall.

Tonight we're heading down the M6 and staying at Martin Mere - hopefully tomorrow we'll be catching there....update tomorrow.

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