Ruddy hell: turnstone flies 27,000 kms ??? twice!

Written by BirdLife Community

Researchers from the Victorian Wader Study Group – a special interest group of Birds Australia [BirdLife Partner] – have just recaptured a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres which has completed a 27,000 km round trip migration for the second time.


Ruddy Turnstone 9Y photographed in Taiwan on 11 May 2009 after departing south-east Australia on 27 April (© Huang Ming).

This is the first time a wader has been tracked with a geolocator on its complete migration in successive years.

The bird had a one gram light sensor data logger (geolocator) attached to its leg. This device recorded where the bird was each morning and evening. In each year the device was attached to the bird in mid April on a beach at Flinders, Victoria, in southeast Australia.

Ruddy Turnstones are a small wader weighing less than 100 grams and spend the (austral) summer months on many of the beaches around Australia. They are one of the family of waders that migrate huge distances to Siberia in Russia to breed.


Click to view map of the amazing journey.

Researchers have used these data logging devices over the last two years to find out the key stopover locations which are so important for the birds to refuel on their long journey.

Members of the study group include Dr Clive Minton, Ken Gosbell, Penny Johns and Prof Marcel Klaassen (of Deakin University).

“The data retrieved so far shows that the birds generally start their northward migration with an initial nonstop flight of around 7,600km in six days to Taiwan or adjacent regions” Dr Minton said.

“There they refuel on the tidal flats before moving north to the Yellow Sea and northern China. They then make a flight of over 5,000kms to the breeding grounds in northern Siberia, arriving in the first week of June.

“One of the interesting findings is that after breeding, the return journey shows considerable variation, no two birds following the same route. Some return through Asia while an amazing alternate route has been demonstrated by these new results.

“This is a trans-Pacific route where the bird moves east to the Aleutian Islands off southwest Alaska before making the huge journey across the Pacific, stopping only once or twice before reaching Australia in early December.”

The first record of this flight was in 2009 when the bird spent nearly two months in the Aleutians before setting off southward over the Pacific Ocean and making a nonstop flight of 7,800kms to Kirabati before making the 5,000km trip back to Flinders, Victoria. In 2010 the same bird undertook a similar incredible journey, this time stopping off in the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu in the Pacific before returning to Australia.

Turnstones live up to 20 years and such a bird following this 27,000 km trans-Pacific route would have flown over 500,000 kilometres in its lifetime.

Scientists from the Australasian Wader Studies Group of Birds Australia and Deakin University are still puzzling over why individual Ruddy Turnstones use such widely differing routes for their annual migrations. The study highlights the importance of key regions within the flyway. Scientists are concerned about the ability of these and similar birds to cope with the massive habitat changes occurring as a result of large reclamation and urban development projects.


New WHSRN Site in Chile: Humedales Orientales de Chilo??

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

In January 2011, the WHSRN Hemispheric Council approved Humedales Orientales de Chiloé [Eastern Wetlands of Chiloé] as a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance. This wetland system is located on the Island of Chiloé, in southern Chile, in the Lake Region of Chiloé Province, and includes the Municipalities of Dalcahue, Quinchao, Curaco de Velez, and Castro. The area contains 10 wetlands—Curacao, Pullao, Chullec, Rilán, San Juan, Castro, Putemún, Teguel, Nercón and Quinchao—comprising a total of 1,900 hectares (4,695 acres).


Hudsonian Godwit. © Pablo Petracci

These wetlands support 40% of the world population of Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), and provide important habitat for more than 2,000 Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) from the Pacific coast population. Both species breed in North America and are of high conservation concern.

The area is under the administration of the Ministry of National Defense – Secretary of the Navy. Therefore, it is not possible to establish private property within the area. The site is managed by Admiral Ricardo Böke Friederichs, Director of Maritime Interests and Aquatic Environment, General Directorate of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine-DIRECTEMAR (Chilean Navy).

The letter of institutional commitment, a criterion for WHSRN, was signed by Admiral Friederichs, accompanied by letters of commitment from the four mayors who have jurisdiction over the area. Additionally, a total of 30 letters were submitted from various public, private, and community institutions, along with adjacent property owners to the area—all in support of the WHSRN designation.

This designation is the result of work led by the Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage (CECPAN by its Spanish acronym), with the valuable support of various local, provincial, and regional stakeholders who, as a whole, made it possible to realize this important achievement for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats in Chiloé. Partners include municipalities, jurisdictional public service entities, and Regional government institutions, along with neighborhood associations, local groups, federations, schools, and educational establishments, among others.

For Diego Luna Quevedo, representing the WHSRN Executive Office in the Southern Cone, the designation “sets a great opportunity for new partnerships, resources, and tools for effective conservation of this globally important area. In addition to its valuable cultural heritage, the Island of Chiloé possesses a great wealth of biological diversity that could be a source of pride and focus for the development of local communities.”

During March 2011, partners will carry out a ceremony in the city of Castro, to formalize the designation with mayors, regional authorities, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, and local and international guests. Partners will also take this opportunity to launch the implementation of the “Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds in Chiloé.” The initiative was sponsored by a coalition of international organizations including The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Audubon Society, and the Shorebird Recovery Project of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. Partners in this coalition are working with their national and local counterparts in Chile, including the Ministry of Environment of Chile, the Government of the Región de los Lagos, local municipalities, CECPAN, and Conservación Marina.


Chiloé Island, southern Chile. Inset: Humedales Orientales de Chiloé WHSRN Site (green areas) / Courtesy of CECPAN

There are now 84 WHSRN sites in 13 countries, with partners conserving more than 12 million hectares (31 million acres) of key shorebird habitat. The Humedales Orientales de Chiloé is now the third WHSRN site in Chile, following Bahía Lomas (in Tierra del Fuego) and the Humedal del Río Lluta (in northern Chile). 

It’s our pleasure to give a warm welcome to our new partners at the Humedales Orientales de Chiloé WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance!


Reposted by WHSRN


Ace navigator Erzhan emerges in Sudan for a fourth consecutive winter

Written by BirdLife Community


Sociable Lapwing. Image courtesy of BirdLife International

After an absence of any firm location data since early October, Erzhan – our most experienced traveller – has just popped up on our radar again. For the fourth year running we can confirm he is now back in a wintering flock in Sudan.

The variability in the destinations of individual Sociable Lapwings returning to breed or winter each year is fascinating. This year Erzhan is in an area much further north than he has wintered before. Currently he is located in northern Sudan about 200k north of Dagash, and quite near to the Egyptian border whereas previously he has wintered to the south, much closer to Ethiopia.

This last migration, Erzhan’s journey began back in the central Kazakhstan steppes where he summered near Lake Tengiz until at least late August. Almost certainly the oldest and most experienced of our tagged birds, Erzhan set off ahead of the others pushing south west. By mid September he was north of the Caspian Sea and following a now familiar path towards the big staging sites he helped discover in Turkey back in 2007.   In early October we learnt he had passed right through south western Russia and Georgia and had arrived safely, as expected, in eastern Turkey. Despite a slightly tense period with no transmissions for three months, news of his rediscovery in Sudan completes yet another amazing journey he has undertaken safely. To read more about Erzhan’s previous exploits follow this link.

Five of our satellite-tagged birds are still transmitting regularly. Right now we know Erzhan is in northern Sudan, Abaj is near Tabak in Saudi Arabia and Dinara is still just west of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. Raushan, last positively located in Northern Pakistan, might still be present there but is probably at least a little further south and Tatyana – who wast last tracked to either Central Iraq or northern Saudi Arabia, close to the border with Jordan – is still sending out infrequent signals that are too sporadic to pin down.

What has become of the others is open to speculation. Possible reasons for a lack of signals from our birds ‘missing in action’ include damaged tags, battery failure, birds shedding their tags, natural sickness or predation or death by hunting. With the many perils Sociable Lapwings face on their hazardous migrations a few losses are sadly inevitable.

With Erzhan back in Sudan another chapter chronicling the Sociable Lapwing’s precarious foothold on planet earth has been written. Under the guidance of RSPB and with the help of BirdLife International Partners and other participating conservation organisations in range states throughout the Sociable Lapwings flyway, followers of the Amazing Journey website including birders, naturalists, conservation scientists, journalists and a wide cross section of the general public from all around the world have witnessed and participated in an amazing conservation journey together.

We thank you for joining us and look forward to continuing the dialogue in future. With Spring migration commencing in just over a month we will soon be bringing you news of these birds next adventures…

If you’d like to keep in touch with Erzhan and the other Sociable Lapwings’ Amazing Journey you can sign up for email alerts that will advise you whenever we add new information to this website.

If you’ve enjoyed following this migration and would like to contribute to the vital conservation required to prevent the extinction of Sociable Lapwings in future please click here.

Donate to help Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Written by David A. Sibley/Sibley Guides


Original painting of Spoon-billed Sandpiper, auction is here. Painted in gouache on Bristol Board based on sketches and observations at Pak Thale, Thailand in February 2010, copyright David Sibley.

The painting shown here is currently available at auction (see box at right on my site) with 100% of the proceeds going to support the efforts of the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand. Or you can make a donation through Audubon (see below). Funds will go to an information center at Pak Thale, Thailand, where visiting birders and local residents can learn about the importance of salt pans for wintering shorebirds.

The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand is seeking donations to set up an information booth at the main Spoon-billed Sandpiper wintering site at Pak Thale, Thailand. Phil Round says “The primary goal of this is to engender increased interest and concern at both the local and province level for the conservation of key shorebird habitats.”

The site supports a small number of wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers, but it is by far the most accessible place to see the species, and birders from around the world visit daily in the winter months. The area also supports globally-important concentrations of wintering Nordmann’s Greenshank, and tremendous numbers of other shorebirds.


Auctions RSS Feed
Auction box is on the right on my site

Thanks to Audubon, US citizens can make tax-deductible contributions to a Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Fund.  To contribute to the Bird Center at Pak Thale, make a check out to “Audubon California”, write “Bird Center at Pak Thale” in the memo line and send it to:

Audubon California
c/o Graham Chisholm
4225 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608

Here is the summary from the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand’s proposal:

Summary: Ban Pak Thale, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi Province, is the single most important wintering site for the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Thailand. It also supports a large number of other shorebirds including an internationally important flyway concentrations of the endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank and the near-threatened Eurasian Curlew among > 35 shorebird species. These birds principally use salt-pans as roosting areas throughout daylight hours that, during the midwinter (November-January) period coincide with high tide. These roosting areas are unprotected and there is neither much community involvement in managing the site nor a high level of interest at the level of the province. With the engagement of the local subdistrict council (the Tambol Administrative Organzation of Ban Pak Thale) BCST will establish a manned bird information centre at the site that will serve as a focus for conservation and environmental awareness activities and additionally ensure that token income from local and international birdwatching tourists enters the community.

Repost with permission from the author

Wader Study Group Bulletin: Web Of Science application

Written by International Wader Study Group

To consolidate the future of the Wader Study Group Bulletin, we have applied with Thomson Reuters for a listing on the Web of Science. As a reader of the Bulletin you can recommend us at the Thomson Reuter website.

Please visit: Thomson Reuters. You will see a submission form… Read more


The more of you visit Thomson Reuter’s site the more chance WSG Bulletin has to be listed. Please help! Thanks. (Editor)

New eco-tourism initiative benefits Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation

Written by BirdLife International Community

One of the most challenging issues faced by conservationists working to save the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper from extinction has been establishing exactly where they breed in the vast coastal areas of the Russian Far East.


Heritage Expeditions’ ship – Spirit of Enderby – will act as a ‘floating base’ for new surveys.

For the past two decades, local Russian and international scientists working with BirdLife have been monitoring diminishing populations at a handful of important breeding sites in Chukotka and Northern Kamchatka.

Knowledge gleaned from recent studies coupled with new mapping and modelling techniques have identified several other areas where Spoon-billed Sandpipers are highly likely to be nesting. However, getting to these places is by no means straightforward. The sheer scale of the areas to be surveyed, their remoteness and their inaccessibility has, to date, presented an insurmountable barrier to visiting potential new breeding sites.

Now, BirdLife Species Champion and award winning expedition travel company Heritage Expeditions is providing the necessary logistical and financial support that will enable surveys to be conducted in an area with particularly high potential by making an approach from the sea.

A new Heritage Expeditions voyage ‘In the Wake of Bering’ will take place in June/July this year which will incorporate a dedicated search for breeding Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the previously inaccessible Olyutorsky Bay area.

Those customers making this pioneering voyage will split in to small groups and participate in searches for the birds under the supervision and guidance of BirdLife scientists. As this area has never been surveyed before, all species encountered will be carefully recorded and detailed notes will be taken on the suitability of habitat encountered.


Small survey teams will explore inaccessible areas of Olyotorsky bay in Heritage’s Zodiacs

Rodney Russ, conservationist and owner and founder of Heritage Expeditions comments “Our remarkable ship – The Spirit of Enderby – unlocks the opportunity for this urgent piece of research to be undertaken. We are delighted to be able to offer our customers this extraordinary adventure and support the vital conservation action required for Spoon-billed Sandpiper in this way”.

Jim Lawrence, BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme Manager comments “There is much hype in the tourism industry about unique travel opportunities but this expedition offers just that. Heritage’s customers will not only visit places tourists have never set foot before, they will also be directly contributing to conservation. We are very excited about the new opportunities this initiative represents.”

After searching for new breeding sites, the voyage will continue north to the main Spoon-billed Sandpiper study site at Meinypilgyno – an area where Birds Russia, in conjunction with BirdLife International, are monitoring breeding Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Whether the earlier searches are successful or not, here Heritage’s passengers should have another good chance of seeing nesting Spoon-billed Sandpipers under controlled conditions that minimise disturbance.

For information about joining this extraordinary Heritage Expedition please follow this link.

Over the coming months BirdLife Community will be carrying regular posts about Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation being undertaken throughout the species’ migratory flyway. So watch out for more news shortly, including blogs from this voyage carrying news, images and videos of the extraordinary scenery, fauna and conservation activity encountered.

In August 2010 Heritage Expeditions joined several other Species Champions who are supporting conservation for Spoon-billed Sandpiper under the auspices of The BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

We would also like to thank WildSounds – who stepped up as the first BirdLife Species Champion for Spoon-billed Sandpiper back in 2008, Birdfair – Global Sponsor of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, The Dutch Birding Association and VBN (BirdLife in the Netherlands), The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Disney Friends for Change, The CMS Secretariat, Ed Keeble and the many other generous individuals who have become Species Champions and Programme Supporters.

If you would like to support our work for Spoon-billed Sandpiper by also becoming a BirdLife Species Champion please email or you can make an online donation here. Please join us in taking action now as time is running out for this most charismatic wader…

Repost from BirdLife Community

Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network Color-marked Shorebird Resighting Report

Written by River Gates/Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network

The Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network (ASDN) is an international collaboration between shorebird biologists who are currently conducting a multi-year study to examine mechanisms behind declines of North American Arctic- breeding shorebirds. The Network collaborators’ are color-marking shorebirds at 7 sites in Alaska (Yukon Delta, Nome, Cape Krusenstern, Point Barrow, Ikpikpuk River, Prudhoe Bay and the Canning River) and 4 sites in Canada (Mackenzie Delta, East Bay and Coates Island in the northern portion of Hudson Bay, and Churchill).


Dunlin (Calidris alpina arcticola) color-banded in Barrow, Alaska and resighted at Shimominota Beach, Suzuka City, Japan on 20 January 2009. © Yoshio Katsutani

We would be delighted to receive reports of color-marked shorebirds observed away from the breeding grounds. Please look for marked birds of the following species and fill out the following resighting report:

American Golden-plover Pluvialis dominica
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus

All ASDN birds are marked with a white (Canada) or dark green (USA) flag. The engraved flags will have a 3 letter code of letters or numbers, written in white on the green flags or written in black on the white flags, and an additional color band (e.g. red, dark blue, orange, dark green, yellow) below the flag. Most birds will also have three unique color bands on the opposite leg to further facilitate individual identification during the breeding season, as well as a US Geological Survey/Canadian Wildlife Service metal band with a unique serial number.

Inquires about the Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network can be directed to:
River Gates, Network Field Coordinator,
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Bird Management
1011 East Tudor Rd. MS201
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
(907) 786-3563

Downloadable filling forms in three languages:


WorldWaders Newsletter Service launches


WorldWaders Conservation released its first newsletter today. At the same time the Google mailing list is closed. Monthly newsletters are planned to be sent for the subscribers on WorldWaders projects, actions or announcements. Being active supporter or contributor of WorldWader’s projects is beneficial in long term. Encouraging announcements will be announced in future newsletters.

Subscribe to our newsletter

International Mid-winter Wader Counts 2011

Written by WorldWaders

Shorebird counts will be carried out on the week-end of 14-16 January 2011 by hundreds of field workers, bird watchers and enthusiasts worldwide. The date is for guidance only as other days close to this week-end is still within the target. Any kind of wetlands, grasslands, agricultural fields as well as coastal and related habitats should be involved and shorebird numbers is requested to be registered. We find negative records as interesting as positive ones. WorldWaders monitors long term changes in winter distribution of waders. A site currently holds wintering waders could be empty in years and vice versa. We would like to follow these changes. So we ask those counters who possibly nothing to report to fill data form from your favourite birding spot (potential shorebird habitat only).


International Mid-winter Wader Counts
14-16 January 2011
Enjoy outing and count for waders.

Your participance is VITAL. Please, help us to get a worldwide coverage of this event. We encourage you to Invite your friends by forwarding this event info to them.


Wintering Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots near Newcastle, Australia. © Jan Wegener

Data should be submitted to WorldWaders database before 31 January 2011. Data form is here: In case any question please contact us at any of our contacts.

Happy birding!

Birding community must be strengthened!

January 7, 2011

Earlier we reported about the exceptional chance to serve 1M US dollars for the only bird conservation project among the five selected environmental projects. It is now the cheapest and easiest way to donate the project for the conservation of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

The voting result is now available (not the final one). It does sound promising but we, the world’s birding community, as a whole, should be even more powerful to make a change in the final ranking. The “BirdLife International – Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands” project is the third most supported one but it have to be the first one, the winner.

Please utilize the easy flow of communication and share this news with as many of your friends in your local community as possible. We can make an impact as this is the ONLY bird related project! Please, throw away your worries on registration to a new site. Do it and vote. That simple!

WorldWaders will soon announce a beautiful painting of a Spoon-billed Sandpiper for auction to raise funds for BirdLife project. Details to come.