Victorian Wader Study Group

Grey Plover tracking in South Australia

See below the Project Introduction for updates.

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Project Introduction:

The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board want to find out more about how migratory shorebird species use the Gulf St Vincent during their non-breeding season. To address this, a collaborative project between the Board, Friends of Shorebirds South East (FoSSE) and the Victorian Wader Study Group (VWSG) has been supported by funding from the Australian Government and the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.

Many species of waders use the gulf and at times they number in the thousands. To better protect and manage the habitat the birds use, it is important to know which areas they are and when these areas are used. To this end, satellite transmitters have been applied to Grey Plovers in order to track their movements around the gulf while they are here.

Grey Plover (right) with Bar-tailed Godwits. © Rog Standen

Little is known about the migration of Grey Plover to and from Australia, apart from a limited number of sightings of Australian flagged birds in Japan, the Yellow Sea and Taiwan. Despite this, there is no information to confirm where the Grey Plover from Australia breed. Grey Plover are known to breed on the tundra north of the tree-limit in Russia, but where ours breed we don’t know – yet. These satellite-carrying birds will hopefully reveal this answer as well as showing what areas of the gulf they use and any stopover sites in-between.

Interestingly, almost all Grey Plover that come to Australia are females, so presumably their male counterparts stay further north than here for the non-breeding season.

As these birds weigh about 200-250g, a 5g transmitter is well within accepted weight ratios for equipping birds with tracking devices.

The satellites will be active for 10hours every two days so details of their movements will be able to be monitored on a regular basis.

Shorebird banding work at Thompson Beach has been undertaken by experts and volunteers from the VWSG and FoSSE since 2012. Volunteers from Birdlife Australia and Birds SA also monitor local shorebirds and habitat as part of a National Shorebird 2020 programme.



To see previous years' grey plover news, please click on the following:

Grey Plover 2016

Grey Plover 2015


This project is being managed by Maureen Christie, from FoSSE/VWSG

Tony Flaherty, Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges

Clive Minton can be contacted for matters relating more broadly to the VWSG