It has become a bit of a tradition that I go wader banding (ringing for you in the UK) for a couple of days between Christmas and New Year. This year I could only manage a single day - and at first we caught no waders! There were lost about, but they never seemed to be where the nets were!
However, we did find a flock of about 100 or so Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybrida) in a catchable location, so we ended up with a catch of about 70 of these splendid birds. We also trapped a single Fairy Tern (Sterna nereis), but it was banded and released before I got a chance to photograph it (sad face!)
If you get a chance to become involved in a banding session I would recommend that you give it a go - the chance to see the birds close up is remarkable.
So, our birds were banded, measured, weighed, aged and given an orange let flag. We also had a group of vets with us who were collecting samples from places on the birds that are best not mentioned in polite company! This was all if the name of science and the monitoring of avian flu.
Strangely, the banded birds often hang about close to where they were banded, sorting out their feathers and regaining their dignity, before they fly off.
As you can see the birds are not always that pleased to be helping expand the frontiers of human knowledge. The whole finder bite is not a problem, but it can be a bit sharp if they get hold of the fleshy sections between your fingers - or worse, if they get hold of a small cut!
You can find more shots from around the world at Our World Tuesday.
Enjoy the pictures.