The first autumn passage/wintering birds appeared quite early this year, on 15th October. Since then up to a maximum of c70 have been frequenting the feeding site interspersed with periods elsewhere, probably Ocean Edge foreshore, local salt marshes to the south and the Lune Estuary.
Catching them this year has seemed rather like planning a small war (although I have never actually planned a war, big or small). The feeding site is rather public and the birds cannot be relied upon to be there at specific times, although they do seem to be more reliable around high tide - presumably there is less salt marsh area to forage on at this time - although they can be around at any time of the day. The day also needs to be dry (wet whoosh nets and small birds do not go together well) and not too windy.
Unfortunately, high tide during the morning/midday plus decent weather also attracts other less welcome visitors such as unruly dogs being walked, noisy fishermen, ship watchers, birders, walkers and motor bikes etc. etc. Of course, all these people have just as much right to be there as me but it can make things frustrating!
However, 5 catches have been achieved to date, the first on 28th October. In all 89 new birds have been ringed and colour marked, approximately 40 different birds retrapped (5 from spring 2009, 14 from autumn 2008 & 21 from the current period) and 2 controls caught. These last were one bird ringed on the Duddon Estuary on 15/12/2008, and one possibly ringed on Birkdale Beach (this yet to be confirmed).