All’s not been lost though, one determined group member has one site (details confidential) which isn’t completely under water and three short mist netting sessions at dawn have produced a respectable 8 Common Snipe and 10 Jack Snipe, all of which have now been colour-ringed. This is a great result and has kept the focus going on these amazing little birds in what seems to be a rather good autumn for them. We’ve also controlled one of our own Snipe in the last few days which we originally ringed at Bank Island on 9th September, it now appears to be wintering about 7 km away - a nice recovery and only our third piece of information from the 300+ ringed. Hopefully out of the 92 Common Snipe and 12 Jacks colour-ringed so far this year some will get re-sighted on their travels.
Jean also brought in what must be one of the luckiest Mute Swans ever (depending on which way you look at it). Rather unluckily, this young bird found itself on a railway line and was unluckier still, when despite the prompt reaction of the driver, it was hit by a train, throwing it up into the air and back down to the ground. It was duly recovered but looked somewhat unsurprisingly, rather unwell. A night at Jean's saw it looking slightly better and a thorough inspection and x-rays at the vets showed it to have sustained no obvious injuries, however it was very flat, couldn't raise its head and was bruised. But then just 10 days later, and no doubt spurred on by some other 'swanny' company, it was ringed and released on the NNR with another first winter cygnet, where it appears to be enjoying a more relaxed and uneventful time. Hopefully it will be a little bit more wary of trains from now on!
Jean has also had a run of very late Barn Owl young - presumably second or replacement clutches from those lost earlier in the season. These birds have been picked up as a last resort when found wandering around on the ground and almost starved, the adults presumably struggling to find food for them or perhaps where one of the adults has been lost. Either way, they fair well with Jean and will be soft-released back at their natal sites.