Mongolia: Shorebirds’ training 2014

The Mongolian Ornithological Society (MOS) organizes an annual event “Shorebirds’ training” event annually at Tsengiin tsagaan nuur located in on the border between Bayannuur soum and Dashinchilen soum, Bulgan province.
This year the event was organized during the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of August. On the first day, we gave a talk to local people at the administration office of Bayannuur soum center, with the purpose of disseminating knowledge about shorebirds and wildlife conservation.
Every year we deliver training on teach basic knowledge of bird ringing, counting, capturing, identifying and photographing to the participants of our annual event. The participants are from local conservation societies and NGOs, universities, colleges and bird watchers.
During the event, we counted all the birds observed around the lake. And tThe result was 14,368 individuals involving 74 species of birds. The most common bird recorded in this year was the Pacific Golden Plover with counted in 5516 individuals recorded. Some rare species are found every year around the lake including Asian Dowitcher, White-naped Crane, Swan Goose, Pallas’ Bunting and Cinereous Vulture.

Шөвгөн хараалж Gallinago gallinago Common Snipe
Шөвгөн хараалж Gallinago gallinago Common Snipe
Усны түнжүүр Rallus aquaticus Water Rail
Усны түнжүүр Rallus aquaticus Water Rail
Усны түнжүүр Rallus aquaticus Water Rail
Усны түнжүүр Rallus aquaticus Water Rail
Умардын хавтгайлж Vanellus vanellus Northern Lapwing
Умардын хавтгайлж Vanellus vanellus Northern Lapwing
Матигар хөгчүүлэг Xenus cinereus Terek Sandpiper
Матигар хөгчүүлэг Xenus cinereus Terek Sandpiper
Темминскийн элсэг Calidris temminckii Temminck’s Stint
Темминскийн элсэг Calidris temminckii Temminck’s Stint
During measurement and banding...
During measurement and banding…
Some of the attendants holding new brochure "Mongolian shorebirds".
Some of the attendants holding new brochure “Mongolian shorebirds”.
Mist netting
Mist netting
During the event, we met some local people and give them our new brochure called "Mongolian shorebirds" in which we wrote about biology, ecology of shorebirds and, their biological and ecological importance.
During the event, we met some local people and give them our new brochure called “Mongolian shorebirds” in which we wrote about biology, ecology of shorebirds and, their biological and ecological importance.
During the event, we met some local people and give them our new brochure called "Mongolian shorebirds" in which we wrote about biology, ecology of shorebirds and, their biological and ecological importance.
During the event, we met some local people and give them our new brochure called “Mongolian shorebirds” in which we wrote about biology, ecology of shorebirds and, their biological and ecological importance.
Шартүрүүт элсэг Calidris ruficollis Red-necked Stint
Шартүрүүт элсэг Calidris ruficollis Red-necked Stint in front
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
зийн сүвээцагаан Pluvialis fulva Pacific Golden Plover
Замбын хараалж Gallinago stenura Pin-tailed Snipe
Замбын хараалж Gallinago stenura Pin-tailed Snipe
Савар элсэг Calidris subminuta Long-toed Stint
Савар элсэг Calidris subminuta Long-toed Stint
Black-tailed Godwit Морин цууцал Limosa limosa
Black-tailed Godwit Морин цууцал Limosa limosa
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Is there still hope for the Slender-billed Curlew?

Written by Marko Šćiban/Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia
On 3 April 2014 in pastures around natron lake Rusanda in north Serbia (Banat region) I observed a strange-looking curlew species with my colleague, Radislav Mirić. It was among a flock of around 400 Whimbrels and 40 Eurasian Curlews. Bird had a little thinner bill than the surrounding Whimbrels, it was around the same size of Whimbrels or just slightly bigger. It was coloured similarly to Whimbrels/juvenile Slender-billed Curlews, with small spots on a whitish-yellowish background. What made it different from other Whimbrels, was a clearly whitish head without typical dark stripes on the head of Whimbrels. Unfortunately, several minutes after these photos were made, the bird flew up in a direction of a Sun so we did not manage to see it in flight. Pictures are not of a good quality, but at least others can look at it and a discussion can be started. To me it looks like a very good candidate for a Slender-billed Curlew or some odd hybrid between Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel.
Bellow a few digiscoped images showing the bird in question.
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban
© Marko Šćiban

Boris & Irina reunite in Azerbaijan

Written by The Amazing Journey Team

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After spending the winter far apart in Eastern Sudan and Western Saudi Arabia respectively, Boris and Irina (two of our satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings) have apparently reunited in Azerbaijan during their long journeys home to Kazakhstan.
Boris's track is in purple and Irina's in torquoise.
Boris’s track is in purple and Irina’s in torquoise.
In our last update on March 15th, we had followed Boris (on his rapid migration north from Sudan) to a location in Syria close to the Iraq border which he arrived at on Monday, March 10th. We now know he stayed there until the morning of Friday, March 14th but then travelled on, and by the afternoon of Sunday, March 16th, he’d arrived in Eastern Azerbaijan, near the west coast of the Caspian Sea.
We had also followed Irina, who stayed longer on her wintering grounds (in Saudia Arabia) than Boris but she set off from there on March 6th and by March 10th, she had arrived in Iraq near the Syrian border. We now know she stayed there until Friday, March 14th but then pressed on and by the afternoon of Sunday, March 16th, she too had arrived in the same area of Azerbaijan that Boris was in.
While it will require further survey and monitoring in the future, it looks highly likely that we have now discovered an important Spring migration staging site for Sociable Lapwings in Azerbaijan.
Historical records in our database have indicated that this area of Azerbaijan might be a last Spring stopover site for Sociable Lapwings before they cross the Caspian and head on to the Emba valley in Kazakhstan. Our knowledge of regular Spring staging sites is very restricted but now this location in Azerbaijan and another site in Syria where c. 2,000 birds were located in 2007 appear to be regular staging sites. As indications are that both Boris and Irina passed close to or through this area of Syria this year, it is indeed possible that they might have stopped at the Syrian location for a few hours before moving on non-stop to Azerbaijan too.
It is likely that there are not many large stopover sites for Sociable Lapwings on their Spring migration back to Kazakhstan. The journey home is rapid and the entire route through Central Asian semi-deserts in Spring is much wetter throughout, offering extensive suitable resting and feeding habitat that is unavailable in the Autumn.
As of Monday, March 24th, Boris and Irina are both still staging in Azerbaijan on the East Caspian coast.
The great image at the head of this post by Philipp Meister is of a flock of Sociable Lapwings encountered at Gobustan, Azerbaijan on 6th April 2006.
The shores of Lake Hadzhibagul in Azerbaijan. Image Courtesy of The Amazing Journey Team
The shores of Lake Hadzhibagul in Azerbaijan. Image Courtesy of The Amazing Journey Team
In February this year our Sociable Lapwing Study team received news of another important Sociable Lapwing migration discovery, from the same area of Azerbaijan, that was made in Autumn 2013.
On 20th October 2013 Pedro Romero Vidal recorded a flock of 45 Sociable Lapwings at Lake Hadzhibagul and on November 7th he found another flock of 15 there. Pedro regularly counts waterbirds at the lake to record their numbers and diurnal activity patters for his MSc thesis at Greswald University, Germany. On both occasions the birds he encountered were feeding on muddy ground with small pools.
Of great interest to us was that among the 45 birds he encountered on October 20th, no less than four were colour-ringed. One carried a blue and a white ring, but in general, viewing conditions were not sufficient to read the full combinations. However, as the majority of birds carrying rings now must come from the Korgalzhyn region of Kazakhstan, and as four ringed birds were seen together, it seems likely that these birds were ringed in Central Kazakhstan near Lake Tengiz.
This is another piece of the jigsaw in our quest to reveal the Sociable Lapwings’ migration routes. It suggests that some birds, and perhaps only in some years, do not take a detour around the North shore of the Caspian, but cross it directly from the West Kazakhstan or North Turkmenistan coast.
Until now this has only been proven for the bird’s Spring migration route.

Manomet Center names director of major hemispheric shorebird network

Written by David McGlinchey/Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences has named Dr. Rob Clay as the new director of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Executive Office.

Dr. Robert Clay is the new director of WHSRN. Image courtesy of Manomet
Dr. Robert Clay is the new director of WHSRN. Image courtesy of Manomet
WHSRN is a voluntary consortium working across the Americas to protect and manage the hemisphere’s most important habitats for migratory shorebirds. The Network currently includes 88 sites in 13 countries, and over 250 organizations from Alaska to Argentina.
Dr. Clay has been working on the conservation of birds throughout the Western Hemisphere for over 20 years. Prior to joining Manomet, Clay worked for Birdlife International as Senior Conservation Manager in the Americas Secretariat, where he supervised the development, management, and fundraising for conservation programs. He focused on the conservation of migratory birds, particularly grassland birds and globally threatened species, and worked regularly with the WHSRN staff and partners. Clay also served on the WHSRN Hemispheric Council. He will begin his new role in May and will be based in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he has lived for 15 years.
I am very excited to be joining what is widely recognized as one of the most successful flyway-scale site networks in the world,
Clay said.
Working with the many WHSRN partners throughout the Americas, I’m optimistic that together we can redress the worrying declines in so many shorebird populations.
Many shorebird species have shown sharp population declines in the past two decades. WHSRN uses science and the cooperation of its members in an effort to halt the declines and to ensure the long-term survival of these birds. WHSRN provides training, capacity building, and visibility for all member sites. The Network’s immediate goals include supporting existing sites and enrolling new qualifying sites, especially in Central and South America.
We are delighted to have someone of Rob’s experience and stature taking over the leadership of WHSRN, and look forward to great progress advancing shorebird conservation with our partners across the Hemisphere,
said Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Program Director Stephen Brown.
With headquarters located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences has more than 30 scientists and support staff working from the north slope of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. Through research and collaboration, Manomet builds science-based, cooperative solutions to environmental problems.
Originally founded as the Manomet Bird Observatory, the Center is celebrating 45 years of conserving the natural world for the benefit of wildlife and human populations. For more information or to learn how to become involved, visit www.whsrn.org or www.manomet.org.
For more information, please contact:
David McGlinchey
Communications Director
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
508-224-6521508-224-6521 ext. 232
dmcglinchey@manomet.org

Proposal for the World Shorebirds Day

Written by Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders
There is no better time to set the bar for the next level in raising global public awareness about the conservation of and research on shorebirds than today. About half of the world’s shorebird populations are in decline, and the rate of habitat loss is worse than ever before.
Healthy populations of shorebirds mean healthy wetlands, what thousands of human lives depend on. Actions on a global level need to be organised to get people connected with shorebirds, their spectacular life and their habitats.
To celebrate shorebirds around the world, one commemorative day should be set, World Shorebirds Day, dedicated to special events.

PiedAvocet_001_1000HU

Here is my proposal to launch the World Shorebirds Day for the first time in 2014. You are more than welcome to comment or review it and share it within your network.
Note: this is not a confirmed event! The final decision to be announced widely.

Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey: Making wintering shorebirds count

Written by Point Blue Conservation Science
MGilbert2-photo_by_Steve_German

Citizen scientists and partner biologists are helping us figure out how large-scale environmental changes, like urbanization, extreme weather, climate variation as well as agricultural flooding, wetland restoration and management, are affecting shorebirds and their habitats throughout the Pacific Flyway. We still have a lot to learn about species population trends, which species are at greatest risk, and which habitats they most depend upon. To answer these questions Point Blue is leading the Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey.
Western and Least Sandpiper. © Ryan DiGaudio
Western and Least Sandpiper. © Ryan DiGaudio

Filling in the Gaps

Past surveys of shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway, led by Point Blue and others, provided a valuable snapshot of population and habitat conditions through the 1990’s, but do not reflect more recent landscape level changes. Our revived annual Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey strives to fill existing information gaps and provide guidance to resource managers on how best to conserve shorebird habitats in the face of environmental change.

Data Innovations

The Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey is a coordinated multi-partner monitoring program led by Point Blue Conservation Science designed to guide the management and conservation of wintering shorebirds in the Pacific Flyway. Data is collected by both professional biologists and citizen scientists and is stored online at the California Avian Data Center. Within this Data Center, state of the art analytical approaches are providing partners with robust annual summaries of incoming data as well as interactive tools to visualize results, including population trends, spatial distribution of birds, and the relative abundance of birds by habitat type or location.
migratoryshorebird_Colombia_askMatt
© Steve German

Get Involved!

Visit our project website to learn how to volunteer and explore our findings.

Oystercatchers see strength in numbers

Written by Vineyard Gazette

A coalition of 35 conservation groups formed five years ago to protect habitat and aid recovery. © Myer Bornstein
A coalition of 35 conservation groups formed five years ago to protect habitat and aid recovery. © Myer Bornstein

The American oystercatcher population is recovering following a decline documented a decade ago, a Cape Cod science center said.

A comprehensive aerial survey of the oystercatcher population done last year from Long Island to the Mexico border found the population had increased steadily since 2009.

A coalition of 35 conservation groups formed five years ago to protect habitat and aid recovery. — Lanny McDowell
Ten years ago the harlequin-colored shorebirds were in a decline. Habitat loss and human encroachment were blamed. A survey that year showed there were about 10,900 oystercatchers and that the population was dwindling. In 2009 a coalition of 35 groups from Canada to Texas formed to protect the birds, calling itself the American Oystercatcher Working Group.

Read more…

Sociable Lapwings found wintering in The Negev

Posted by BirdLife International The Amazing Journey Project

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Sociable Lapwing has become an increasingly scarce winter visitor to Israel, so news of at least 35 wintering there in 2013 brings us great cheer this Christmas.

Jonathan Meyrav of The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (BirdLife International’s national Partner in Israel) brings us this news and provides a recent historical perspective…
Ever since I started birding in the late 1980’s, small numbers of these elegant waders wintered at various sites throughout the country. Back in those days Israel was much less heavily populated and a few small groups of ‘Sociable Plovers’ – as they were then known – could usually be found wintering in agricultural areas – some even on the outskirts of Tel Aviv as well as at more regular, remoter sites in Israel’s Eastern Valleys and the Western Negev region.
Jonathan Meyrav - SPNI. © David Callahan
Jonathan Meyrav – SPNI. © David Callahan
For the past 30 years Sociable Lapwings have continued to winter in Israel each year but in ever-decreasing numbers. In good years we usually found several flocks of 10-20 birds, though winter counts for the whole country rarely exceeded 55-60 individuals. I also recall a few occurrences in the late 80’s when exceptional flocks of around 100 Sociable Lapwings were reported, in most cases in the West Negev.
During the 1990’s and early 2000’s the numbers of Sociable Plovers wintering in Israel gradually dropped. We assumed this had to do with the obvious reasons of habitat destruction and development mainly in Central Israel, and with the loss of several major wintering sites in the Hula and Bet Shean Valleys. In retrospective though, these were also the years that the Sociable Lapwing population was probably affected so dramatically on the breeding grounds and elsewhere.
In the early 2000’s Sociable Lapwings had nearly disappeared from Israel and only very small numbers (down to 5 birds in some years) were reported, mainly from the Negev. In recent years however, there has been a slow but steady increase in Sociable Lapwing numbers again, both on passage and on the wintering grounds. In 2009-2011 just five Sociable Lapwings were reported on migration with around 12 remaining to winter. Last year 14 Sociable Lapwings wintered in The Negev, and single birds also wintered in the Bet Shean Valley and possibly the Hula Valley as well.
One of the wintering lapwings. © Jonathan Meyrav
One of the wintering lapwings. © Jonathan Meyrav
In 2013 there have been quite a few spring and fall records of Sociable Lapwings (involving around 15 individuals) and now, for the first time in 20 years, 31 Sociable Lapwings are wintering in the Negev again – in two different flocks. At least four more birds are also wintering elsewhere in Israel, including one remarkable bird at a site just 20 KM north of Tel Aviv.
This is encouraging and may imply that the population wintering in Israel has taken a turn for the good, with these elegant birds still hanging on after having been close to the brink of extinction.
The beautiful header photo of two Sociable Lapwings wintering in Israel was taken recently by Yoav Perlman.
Elsewhere, our three satellite-tagged birds are giving strong signals which indicate they have all moved very little in the last month.
Irina is currently still near Tabuk in Saudi Arabia, Boris is still near New Halfa in eastern Sudan and Ainur is still near Lake Hamel in southern Pakistan.

Now Available: Wilson’s Plover Conservation Plan

Written by Meredith Gutowski Morehouse/WHSRN
An adult male WIlson's Plover hunts fiddler crabs and other invertebrates in the marsh on Cumberland Island National Seashore. April 2012. © Lauren Deaner
An adult male WIlson’s Plover hunts fiddler crabs and other invertebrates in the marsh on Cumberland Island National Seashore. April 2012. © Lauren Deaner
In response to the conservation priorities established in the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, the WHSRN Executive Office continues to work with shorebird experts in partner organizations to develop action-oriented Species Conservation Plans. Today, we proudly announce the completion and publication of  the Conservation Plan for the Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) by dedicated scientist and author Margo Zdravkovic, with support from Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, Coastal Bird Conservation (CBC)/Conservian, Inc., National Audubon Society, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The 170-page, peer-reviewed plan summarizes what is known to date about Wilson’s Plover ecology, status, updated population estimates, habitat needs, threats, and important sites throughout the Western Hemisphere. It also identifies and prioritizes conservation actions needed in the short term to recover the species’ population for the long term. The plan further offers new data and insight from CBC into the complicated, cooperative ways that the otherwise territorial pairs of breeding Wilson’s Plovers will work in groups to defend a wider breeding territory. Recognizing and understanding this and other behavior is essential to conduct more accurate survey– and monitoring-related conservation efforts. In addition, the plan discusses the impact and effects of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster on this species and its habitats along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Range map of the three subspecies of Wilson’s Plover: Charadrius wilsonia wilsonia (yellow), C. w. cinnamonius (orange), C. w. beldingi (green) / © Conservian
Range map of the three subspecies of Wilson’s Plover: Charadrius wilsonia wilsonia (yellow), C. w. cinnamonius (orange), C. w. beldingi (green) / © Conservian
We applaud and appreciate Ms. Zdravkovic’s tireless dedication in developing this plan and her commitment to the species. We also are grateful to the many shorebird biologists and conservation partners who contributed their data, time, and/or feedback during its development.
Male and Female Wilson's Plover at Cumberland Island National Seashore. © Lauren Deaner
Male and Female Wilson’s Plover at Cumberland Island National Seashore. © Lauren Deaner
The Conservation Plan for the Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) can be viewed or downloaded at the WHSRN Species Conservation Plan webpage, along with a Spanish executive summary, and our 19 other species plans published and being implemented to date. Also available on this page is our interactive GoogleEarth map file of species-specific important areas, updated with Wilson’s Plover sites.
For more information, please contact Margo Zdravkovic (MargoZ@Coastalbird.org), Director, Coastal Bird Conservation/Conservian, Inc., or Meredith Gutowski Morehouse (mgmorehouse@manomet.org), Conservation Specialist, WHSRN Executive Office, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.