Day 236 | setting up the bird nets in Broome: Rest day 3

rest day 3

I met Jan on an obscure road near Wyndham where she was in the process of catching Star finches to record and band.

I have taken up her offer of a place to stay in Broome and now I am taking the first steps on the way to becoming an amateur ornithologist.

We cranked her old 4WD up the coast dirt tracks for about half an hour’s drive north of Broome to set up some nets to catch some Honey eaters near the mangroves. This is Jan’s main research project and in the last 8 years she has banded about 10,000 small birds.

It’s a time consuming process starting with crashing around through the shrubbery and long grass looking for suitable places to station the nets. The nets are 9 or 12 m long and I guess 3 m high. Each net takes 15 to 20 minutes to set up and 5 went up. You have to patrol the nets once they are set up as the birds suffer from heat stress if left in the sun for too long. It takes a while to untangle the birds, record their measurements and band them but Jan has an efficient system.

The thing is that the best time to catch em is at sunrise or sunset when the nets aren’t as obvious and the birds are more active than in the heat of the day.

In my avian enthusiasm I’ve agreed to return tomorrow pre dawn to lend a hand.