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Capture methods
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Capture methods used

 The most common method to safely capture birds is mist-netting. On the open mudflats that waders inhabit, mist-nets are only successful during darkness, when the birds cannot see the nets. This method has therefore been quite successful on the wintering grounds but during the breeding season in Iceland, when there is daylight for almost 24 hours, clever Icelandic Godwits simply avoid the nets. In fact, even on the wintering grounds, Icelandic Godwits have left us staring at empty nets for long hours.

Setting the mist-nets short after sunset on the saltpans of Tagus Estuary

 Cannon-netting has proven to be the most effective catching method for this species. Nets are fired over flocks of birds, usually at a high-tide roost, and a team of people ring and measure the birds before they fly off with their new rings.

Collecting the net after firing and the keeping-cage where Godwits wait to be processed

 During the breeding season, adults are also trapped while nesting. However, Icelandic Godwits are exceptionally good at hiding their nests and young, so this method can be very hard work. Chicks can be colour-ringed a few days after they have hatched but, as they are remarkably mobile even at this young age, this method generally involves sprinting across marshes, while avoiding ditches, barbed wire, Icelandic flies and electric fences (loads of fun!).

Tomas after trying to catch a chick, but was caught himself by a "moving ditch"!

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