The last days we've witnessed quite a few inches of snow falling here in the Netherlands. Chaos everywhere, delayed and cancelled flights, delayed and cancelled trains, traffic jams of over 700km... It is clear that we are not adjusted to snowfall... However, snowfall is a magic oppurtinty for seeing birds you normally don't see that close-by etc. For example snipes or jack snipes. With snowfall also big numbers of Skylarks can be seen and trapped, see for example yesterdays totals here: Trektellen.nl .
We figured that today we would give it a try as well. We'd never done something like this before, we weren't even sure if we would be able to trap anything, this far inland. Near the coast, a lot of birds are ''pushed'' along the coast, resulting in large numbers of for example larks. We are situated along the IJssel, we figured that maybe there would be some snow/frost migration there.
So this morning we went to our ringing site and arrived there we soon noticed that the lock of the gate was frozen.. this meant we could not drive to our ringing site, we had to walk with all our stuff to the ringing place, quite an operation.. Finally we had built up the clapnet including the tape and the real trapping could start. We threw some apples and bread on the clapnet hoping for all kinds of birds to get attracted to the clapnet. The first 10 minutes nothing reacted on the tape of Skylark but then suddenly I saw a bird walking on the clapnet! I pulled the cable and I caught the bird, it turned out to be a Meadow Pipit, nice! without tape! The following seconds I saw 2 Common Gulls flying above the clapnet, I soon lured them and they came down, 1 Commun Gull was on the clapnet for 2 seconds, I could have trapped it... It did not happen. The following minutes they sat next to the clapnet and after a quarter of a hour they flew away. What a pity.
The following hour no reaction of Skylarks whatsoever. Then after a period of tranquility I suddenly saw to Skylarks coming down. They landed in the snow, a couple of metres behind the clapnet. It took some time but after 10 minutes both birds were feeding on the clapnet and we could trap them both!
We did not get 100s of Skylarks but our first try ever was not bad at all...