27 August 2017
Chris Hassell, Global Flyway Network (GFN)
Well this was going to be about the 2 W’s (nowhere near as good as the 3 W’s. Only for cricket tragics that one). Whistling Kites and wind. However that has changed and I think most of this report will only be to interest of people who set and fire cannon nets. So for the rest of you feel free to go direct to the table with the numbers at the end.
Short story – the net went rubbish (but actually it went brilliantly) are you all following this?
Let’s start with the Whistling Kite. I know you think I just do this for dramatic effect but I don’t.
A (put in your own word here) Whistling Kite caused headaches again. Emilia, having completed a perfect walk of the flock to in front of the net, was scanning the skies and saw a Whistling Kite circling off Two Dog Hermit beach. I asked her to keep a close eye on it as we really needed 10 more minutes of tide. But the (put your own word in here) Kite decided to come our way. Once it disappeared out of Emilia’s view behind the cliff I decided to fire as if it had popped out over Quarry Beach we might have ended up with nothing for the day.
I expected the net to go well despite the very strong easterly wind blowing directly on to the side of the net. Our nets usually go well! And with no sand on the net that should have been the case. But no. the net went very poorly with the middle projectile only flying about 7 or 8 metres. I assumed this was the strong wind stopping the net getting nice and square. The result was 80 birds instead of 160, frustrating.
But this morning as I thought about the net I couldn’t work out how it had gone so poorly. ‘I need to be careful opening that cannon’ I thought.
When I washed out the cannon barrel there was no black residue that there usually is from a fired cannon and my suspicion was correct the cannon hadn’t fired.
Which is why the net went brilliantly, because catching 80 birds and dragging the middle projectile 8m is a bit astonishing. When a cannon doesn’t go off the projectile usually stays in the cannon or might make 2m at best.
The usual frustrating result came from investigating the cartridge. The powder was 100% dry and when I tested the electrical igniter it went off immediately. So I am not closer to knowing why we get this problem so much more often in the past 3 years than we ever did in my previous 18 and Clive’s previous 60!
Thanks to all, as ever.
Catch details below.