We managed to get out last night in perfect conditions for our first catch of storm petrels in 2014. With two 40' nets set one above the other and two lots of loudspeakers within 15 minutes of setting up the first bird was caught and by the time we decided to finish at 0130hrs the grand total was 77 new birds and 3 retraps.
We spent a bit of time trying to match the birds with some ageing criteria published about 12 years ago but found it very difficult to be sure of what we were looking at - they are devilishly difficult so all ended up being called "not born this year".
We also recorded the state of the "brood patch" scoring every bird with 1 - fully feathered patch, to 4- totally clear patch but not vasculated. We have no idea why immature stormies develop these patches when they are not breeding or even if females develop better ones than males but perhaps one day the data will be useful to some researcher!
To add just a little excitement we also caught a male natterers bat which was quite mad with us and chattered away in the hands of our qualified bat handler, it flew away strongly after a few minutes of being examined. Quite why a basically woodland species was flying around the coastline is a bit of a mystery.