01/12/2014 Martin Mere WWT

Darvic's: Since David Norman has kindly agreed to train me up as a ringer more doors have opened up for me.

A few weeks ago Kane Brides offered an invitation to attend a training day capturing and ringing some wildfowl at Martin Mere.

I obviously jumped at the chance!

Whooper Swan: After suiting up in a pair of waders and appropriate PPE (masks & gloves), part of H&S.

We waited in the entrance of the pipe, Martin Mere's giant bird trap
Pochard: The pipe was baited to lure the Swans and Ducks in to the pipe before rushing out and closing the door. We then jumped in the pool, with waist high water and corralled the birds in to separate pens at the far end of the pipe.
Me: After the fast and dramatic capturing of the birds and after they were sorted, I was able to get my hands on them.

I personally rung, Whooper Swan, Pintail, Shelduck and even a Coot.
Pintail (male): Pintail in the hand was something else, they are such stunning birds and to record individuals biometrics was festinating.  
Pintail (female): I used G sized rings (diameter 11.0mm & weight 2.40g) on the Shelduck and Coot and once these were fitted I took some biometric data that included, skull size, wing length and weight.
We caught a good selection of male and female, where I was shown some good examples of ageing.
We used red Darvic's - the plastic identification ring, along with BTO metal rings sized Mi=Mc (diameter 26.0mm & weight 4.31g) these have a lip and nipple that fit and close together on the birds tarsal.

He wasn't too heavy, I think he weighed in at around 7.4–14 kg (16–31 lb) - this is about average for a male in winter.
This male Whooper was the first one I rung and placed a Darvic with the letters ANY on its right leg.

So if you take a trip keep your eyes peeled for it, its one of mine.
I lay the bird down, slowly took off it's swan bag, leant back and remember to make sure you hold on to the swan bag then......
 .......with one big flap he was off!

Coot: I wasn't too surprised that the Coots were not happy chappies at all, they used their huge feet and claws to scratch and their pointed bill to peck and pinch.

I didn't struggle too much however, under the guidance of Kane.

Kane: There is a certain loving look I give Dawn from time to time, this is the same look Kane is giving this Coot!

That chap off the TV!
The morning was topped off with a gorgeous cup of home made vegetable soup, courtesy of Tom Clare, MMWWT Reserves Manager - I am sure he would like to be credited for it!
Shelduck: Thanks again to Kane for thinking of me and helping me out, it was an excellent morning and one I hope to be involved with again, cheers dude.