I spent a couple of not very romantic evenings up my middle in mud, helping a team of scientists from the local university to trap shorebirds at my local patch!
We set up mist nets at dusk to trap birds as they flew to roost at high tide. It was fun but very exhausting!
We managed to catch 6 Redshanks, a Common Sandpiper, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Broad-billed Sandpiper, a Terek Sandpiper, one Lesser and one Greater Sansplover, and 3 Little Herons. We also caught around 20 Dog-faced Fruit Bats and 1 Cave Nectar Bat - sharp-toothed little beasts!
Checking out the mudflats with the evening sun behind us.
A couple of shots of a flock of Red-necked Stints flying in perfectly co-ordinated formation.
Setting the nets before dusk
The mudflats by night - lots of ambient light, so not ideal for trapping birds.
Lesser Sand Plover in wing moult.The inner six primaries are fresh and full grown. 7 and 8 are still growing, and the outer two, 9 and 10, are old unmoulted feathers.
Measuring the bill length, from the base of the culmen to the tip.
Measuring the head and bill length, from the rear of the skull to the tip of the bill.
Measuring the nalospi, the distance between the tip of the bill and the distal edge of the nostril.
Measuring the tarsus.
Measuring the middle toe.
A good comparison of the bill shapes of Greater (above) and Lesser Sand Plover. Note that the 'nail' (bulge on the culmen) starts about two-thirds of the way along the bill of Lesser, but about half-way along in Greater. The tip of the Greater's bill is also noticeably sharper and less blunt than that of Lesser.
Another shot of the Greater Sand Plover, showing the olive-yellow leg colour, which tends to be a good distinguishing feature of this species.
A Broad-billed Sandpiper showing off its broad bill!
Terek Sandpiper. Note the deformed toes on the left leg.