Sunday, 26 July 2009


Last night I went with Steve H and D McK to Hauxley to watch Storm Petrels being ringed.
The ringing was organised by Ian Fisher, other birders was also there.
Before last night I had no idea about what a ringing station looked like or even what the net looked like.
We helped set up the nets and waited on the rocks until it was dark enough to play the tape and attract a Petrel.
Also before last night I had never heard the call of a Storm Petrel, but after listening to the tape echoing across the beach for three hours it is a sound I will never forget.
As well as Storm, Leach's and swinhoe's were also played.

I enjoyed just sitting on the beach listening to the other birds that were around during the night. Apart from the Curlew and Oystercatchers Mallard, Grey Heron and Sandwich Tern were calling and flying around the beach.

At around 12:15 the net had its first action of the night when a Storm Petrel- Lifer, was caught.
I knew they were small but not that small! It called a few times as it was being handled but then settled down.
The ring on its foot was so small at first I couldn’t see it. After the bird was ringed we took some photos, unfortunately mine are a bit blurred.

Ian fisher asked me if I would like to release it so we went away from the lights and got closer to the beach to let the Petrels eyes get more adjusted to the dark before flying off.
It stayed in my hand for a minute or so, turning around in circles and flapping its wings before it flew off.
We packed up at half 1 as no others were coming towards the net.

Last night was definitely my favourite birding experience so far.


Stewart said...

Phil, did you smell the Stormie? They smell great, a soft musty ferrety smell. I remember reaching to take onr from the nets at Hauxley with IF one night and it gobbed its fishy supper on to my head. Although it was a tiny drop, it stank like hell!

Newton Stringer said...

Yep I was gonna ask if you smelt it too !

I caught a stormie the other night that gobbed some oily stuff all over me too !!

Crammy Birder said...

I didn't smell it, fortunately.
This one seemed to be quite happy with us handling it.
I think it would have gone to sleep in my hand if it stayed any longer.