Monday, April 20, 2009

The weekend's trip to Charcoal Tank

The last trip was to Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve in February was very quiet. We only caught 30-something birds and it was very dry. We didn't expect a lot of birds on the weekend, and we got what we expected!

We ended up catching only 11 birds, out of 15 nets, in a day and a bit. Not great going. The seemingly never-ending drought has had a big impact on the local birds. However, nine of the birds we caught were retraps, which was quite impressive. We caught Brown-headed Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Peaceful Dove and Common Bronzewing.

Our new trainees ended up getting a fair bit of experience in setting up and packing up nets which was good for them. Not so much extracting and banding birds though. Never mind, things will pick up.

I brought along my new elevated mist net apparatus for a test run. It turned out to be quite a success. It takes a bit of getting used to, particularly in the setup, but it appears it will be an excellent addition to our mist netting gear. I have included some pics of the rig, now dubbed 'Lofty' (thanks Stuart!).

Lofty consists of two guyed out poles with a mist net strung between them that can be raised and lowered on a pulley system. The rig reaches nine metres in height.

Suzi and I lower the mist net on Lofty (photo by Stuart Rae).

I extract a Peaceful Dove from the Lofty net (photo by Stuart Rae)

We opened the Lofty net at night to see if we could catch the local Australian Owlet-nightjars. We ended up with a couple of mammals!

I'm about to extract a Sugar Glider as Mark watches (photo by Stuart Rae)

Me holding the bitey (hence the glove) Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) (photo by Suzi Bond).

We also caught a Lesser Long-eared Bat (Nyctophilus geoffroyi) (photos by Suzi Bond)

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