Sunday, 14 August 2011


A couple of weeks ago Derek Lawrence asked if we could have a Storm Petrel Ringing session open to the members of the Durham Bird Club, and it was agreed to take place last night. Myself, John, Walter and Phil arrived just after 9.00pm to put the nets up and get everything ready, and just after 9.30pm the first people started to arrive. It was a lovely warm evening and there was very little wind but unfortunately there was a very bright full moon so the night didnt really get very dark - not great for trapping Petrels. The crowd waited patiently and were in good humour but secretly those of us Ringing were slightly panicking. As the hours ticked by not a single trace of a Petrel was seen, and although it is absolutely not our fault we still cant help but feel responsible when the birds dont show up! Silly really but you cant help it. And so, as the time approached midnight the first person said they were heading home. They were quickly followed by another. And another. In all, seven people had decided to call it a night, so Phil headed off to open the gates for them to leave. But then, literally as the last car lights faded into the distance, John spotted something in the nets. It was only a flipping Storm Petrel!!! As John got the bird out of the net somebody immediately rang one of the guys who was leaving to let them know we had one. Within seconds the four cars were bombing back towards us doing wheelspins and everything! It was hilarious!!! John Ringed the bird and then gathered the assembled crowd so they could all get extremely close views of a bird that is usually only seen as a distant dot on the sea. It was also a great opportunity for people to take photos and video footage. And so once everybody was satisfied the bird was released and happily went on its way. The Ringing lads breathed a huge sigh of relief, as everybody had finally had views of what they came for. Unfortunately it was the only bird that was caught on the night, but it didnt really matter as everyone still went home happy.

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