2005 News Snippets
Breeding success for 2005 has been estimated based on cannon netting data in south-east Australia in 2005/06.
Broadly the results were; Red-necked Stint (poor); Curlew sandpiper (very good); Bar-tailed Godwit (exceptionally good); Red Knot (very good); Ruddy Turnstone (very good); Sanderling (exceptinally good); Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (very good) and Great Knot (good).
The 2004/05 Annual Report was delivered at the VWSG AGM in late 2005.
Around 10,000 person hours of fieldwork are put in each year, by the active participants of the VWSG.
Total waders caught in 2004 were 6,334 (close to the average of just over 7,000).
The total included 1,224 previously banded birds (19%, which compares to an average of 20%).
Importantly there was real quality in the catches, with good numbers of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (459 - follows another good breeding season), Ruddy Turnstone (306), Bar-tailed Godwit (276), Red Knot (230), Red-necked Avocet (56) and Great Knot (26).
In Jan 2005, we caught the first Chinese banded wader in Victoria - it was a Red-necked Stint banded in the Yellow Sea only five months previously.
Most exciting scientifically was the recapture of a Russian banded Red Knot at Corner Inlet. This bird was banded as a chick in 2004 in Chukotka, far north-eastern Siberia. This is the first direct proof, from banding and flagging, of the breeding grounds of the Red Knot population that spends the non-breeding season in eastern Australia and New Zealand, the rogersi subspecies.
A further 932 overseas sightings and 264 sightings in Australia away from the flagging areas, were received. Highlight of the flag sightings were another 54 Bar-tailed Godwit from Alaska, one from the breeding grounds, much further east on the north coast than any previous record.
It is not widely realised that the VWSG spends a great deal of effort monitoring Victoria's breeding population of terns, banding chicks of local breeders and adults of northern hemisphere migrants, along with habitat management. The calendar year 2004 saw nearly 5,000 terns banded, not far short of the wader banded total.
The amazing result of Crested Terns continuing their population growth, saw them reach 5,420 breeding pairs. This is from a base of less than 1,000 breeding pairs in the mid-1980s. This has stemmed from the active management of the breeding habitat on Mud Island by the VWSG and the protection of the new colony at the Nobbies by the Philip Island Nature Park.
Other information about the VWSG activities and results is presented below:
Curlew Sandpipers numbers were so reduced in 2005 relative to Red-necked Stints that it was difficult to catch adequate samples. For example at Barrallier Island in Westernport, over 1300 Red-necked Stints were caught with just 50 Curlew Sandpipers and this in a supposed Curlew Sandpiper stronghold!
Maureen Christie from SA reported that in November 2004, of eight juvenile Godwit banded in SA, three were seen eight days later on the South Island of New Zealand and one on Robin Island off Tasmania three weeks later!
Other highlights from Maureen included reports on the wader count of 30,000 Banded Stilt at Lake Eliza and 6,000 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers with a sprinkling of 175 Glossy Ibis through them at Lake Hawthorn in January.
Data to the end of January 2005 confirms that Red-necked Stint have had a very poor breeding season in 2004. However, Bar-tailed Godwits and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper both had very good breeding seasons. We need more in the sample of other species to be sure of the success or otherwise of their breeding seasons.