NLRG was formed in 1957 to help in the study of birds in the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society area. There are currently 12 active ringers. Species currently being studied include: Pied Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Sand Martin, Twite, Goosander, Oystercatcher and Grey Wagtail. Migration has been studied for 28 years at Heysham. We welcome anyone who wants to observe, help or perhaps wish to become a ringer. Photo: A Heysham-ringed Twite on the Mull of Kintyre (thanks to Eddie Maguire)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Fishermen Let Their Side Down

A Twite ringing session this morning resulted in a catch of 23 retrap/controls and 4 new birds. Around 80 birds were present and feeding first thing, but as the whoosh net was assembled and set, the birds lined up on the fence to stare at it but declined to feed. After a time, a few were bold enough to drop onto the feeding area and allow a catch.  The first ones down are invariably, and unsurprisingly, the unringed birds that pull a few of the bolder ringed individuals with them.  A second small catch later made up the numbers.

After the net was packed away, although the cars and ringers were still present, 60 birds were on the seed within 15 minutes.

Whilst awaiting further action, and gazing over the sea wall a movement was noted down the stone slope - it was a gull trapped by a fishing hook attached to abandoned tackle.  A lead weight was jammed between the blocks part way down the wall and two hooks, still baited were attached to this weight by a length of line.  The gull had its lower mandible pierced through from inside to out by one hook.

On retrieving the bird it was found to be the Belgian-ringed Mediterranean Gull that Pete, Janet et al had just spent days ring reading.  At least the ring number was confirmed! Some first aid was applied to the bill which was not badly damaged, a yellow darvic ring (2P96) was fitted to the lower left leg and the very fortunate bird was released in good health.  The condition of the bird suggested that it had not been trapped for long.

On our arrival earlier, we had noted that masses of debris and rubbish left by fishermen was present.  I am sure it is only a minority, but these people seem to have no regard for their surroundings or for the wildlife around. The abandoned weight was not too far down the wall to be retrieved, but it was far enough for the bird to be drowned by the tide if it had not died in the meantime through exhaustion/starvation.


Why didn't the fisherman bother to retrieve his tackle?  Why can't these rogue fishermen take home their food debris, cans, cigarette packets, tackle packaging, plastic bags, abandoned line and tackle etc? 

They are an absolute disgrace to their sport (!) and to their more thoughtful colleagues.


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