Last night, with the faint but distinct odour of landfill in the air and up the nostrils, two of us headed out into the wilds of the Severn Estuary to ring waders. Conditions were perfect; a high tide, cloud, and no wind. And we were armed with an ample supply of coffee and snacks* for a night full of waders.
The night was deemed a success even before we’d finished putting the nets up. A little premature you might say? You may even be concerned that we have come up with an even more dubious definition of success? But fear not; unless you don’t class a Redshank landing in a net while it’s still being put up as success? In which case, yes our definition has become more dubious.
|Success in wader form.|
It didn’t stop at one Redshank though. Oh no. We even bagged two birds at once. It looked like it was going to be a mega evening. Yeah, crazy talk, but you should have been there.
However, it was not to be. Not knowing our site particularly well, we weren’t entirely aware how much a 13.2m tide would affect our endeavour. As we extracted our fourth, and ultimately final, Redshank of the evening we became increasingly aware of how large some of the pools were becoming. By the time Facey had finished processing the final redshank, CJ was taking down nets in what had been one smallish pool, but now appeared to encompass most of the foreshore.
It would be over egging the soggy pudding to paint a picture of CJ and Facey struggling to take down nets, waist deep in what passes as water in the Severn. Cut to a low angle view of something swimming toward one of the intrepid ringers. A fin disappears under the water before the aforementioned ringer is dragged under to cries of "Hold the net up you [expletive deleted]! They cost money!" Fortunately the water barely got half way up our wellies, and the only danger that either faced was Facey tripping over his own feet.
Having to pack up early was slightly frustrating but we had caught four birds! That’s four more than Facey expected and four more than previously ringed on the group’s rings!
*A quick note on wader catching snacks – ASDA’s baked bean sausage roll may sound appealing. It may look appealing. But that's as far as it goes. Even a normally unfussy Andrew McSkimming had nothing but derisive comments** to make about the left-over brought home for him. Yeah, they are That Bad.
** Judging by his pained tortured expression we believe they were derisive; it's difficult to tell what someone is saying with a mouth full of ASDA’s let-down sausage roll in his gob- but he didn’t look happy.