Yellow Sea shorebird habitats secure World Heritage listing
5 July 2019
At the World Heritage Committee meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan on July 5, key sites along the Chinese coastline of the Yellow Sea were granted World Heritage status. This decision has significant and positive implications for the conservation of 17 globally threatened migratory shorebird species that rely on these habitats. It follows tireless advocacy from BirdLife Australia and reflects China’s role as a leader in global conservation.
A huge congratulations and thanks to the 62 NGO representatives and experts globally who signed an NGO intervention statement in support of the nomination.
A duck is not a duck is not a duck
26 June 2019
New open access research published by Michelle Willie Virome heterogeneity and connectivity in waterfowl and shorebird communities draws on samples taken during VWSG catches and tells an important story about virus evolution and maintenance in complex multi-host communities. Five duck and four wader species were the focus of Michelle's data collection.
The article can be freely downloaded from the ISME Journal website.
VWSG presentation at the Marine and Coastal Forum, Melbourne
13 June 2019
VWSG Chair Roger Standen presented an overview of the group's achievements in the last forty years and how much has been discovered about the miracle of wader migration, thanks to these years of effort. Roger began by talking about how so little was known about 'our' waders at the start of that period. The VWSG started with just banding and then moved to the deployment of coloured leg flags. This resulted in a coordinated process across the EAAF, which has provided so much more knowledge about stopover sites.
With the introduction of engraved leg flags came information about individual birds. This led to a much greater udnerstandingabout migration schedules, time spent at stopover sites (using examples like Curlew Sandpiper H0 and Bar-tailed Godwit T0) and more about survival. In more recent years, the VWSG has moved to deploying geolocators, which has allowed the remarkable tracing of Ruddy Turnstone to their breeding grounds. This is information that was virtually impossible to obtain from sightings of leg flags as almost nobody visited these areas. Finally the group started satellite tracking, focusing on Eastern Curlew from Yallock Creek currently in China (plus being able to track one bird's flight around a cyclone and back to its austral base).
Roger highlighted the Yellow Sea dependency impact on counts and left the audience with a stunning image (see above - courtesy of Phil Battley) of a completely emaciated godwit just arrived in NZ on its first southward migration flight. These birds endure so much just to go through their natural lifecycle, that it is beholden on all of us to make their feeding and roosting sites in Australia secure.
Jennifer Fraser, one of the Marine and Coastal Council Members, did a recap on Day 2 to all 200 delegates and highlighted the key points from Roger's talk the previous day, reinforcing the importance of the VWSG's (and others') achievements.
Read the latest King Island report from December 2018
The most recent King Island report is now available for reading. Catching was conducted between December 6 and 14. A total of 671 Ruddy Turnstone were counted over the northern, central and southern parts of the island, and 191 were captured over 5 catches. There were 67 were retraps and 41% of all turnstone captured were juveniles. In addition, 9 old geolocators (5 on yellow flags and 4 on white flags) were retrieved during this visit, of which repliminary data have been retrieved from 5.
Thanks to the team who participated: Clive Minton, Robyn Atkinson, Rob Patrick, Mark and Mem Smith, Prue Wright, Tessa Lamin, Marcel Klaassen, Michelle Willie and Katherine Leung, local King Island participants, including Graeme and Margaret Batey, Margaret Bennett and Liz.
The schizophrenic Turnstone from King Island
The interesting story about Ruddy Turnstone WMA from King Island, which has dropped in to Newcastle for the last 3 years has now been published in the Hunter Bird Observer's Club scientific journal ‘The Whistler’. You can browse the volume and download a copy by going to the journal publication page.
The EAAFP secretariat has announced that 2018 Knots Painting Competition deadline will extended until 3 Jan 2019.
You can find out more about this competition on the EAAFP website.
View to Asia
Sculpture Exhibition 2018
A fun idea to raise awareness of the plight of shorebirds in Broome and the East Asia Australasian Flyway has won first prize at the Shinju Matsuri, View to Asia Sculpture awards.
First place:The Flock – Grace Maglio
The Flock Oz - Broome has arrived.
The Flock Oz is a creative, fun project aimed at increasing awareness of the shorebirds of Broome.
Paint your own shorebird cut out and create your own flock at your workplace, school or community group or for your very own garden display. For more information contact email@example.com
Many thanks to the Broome Men's Shed, Roebuck Bay Working Group, Broome Community Resource Centre, Tony Flaherty and Teleah Healy (Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges), DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service, residents and staff of Germanus Kent and the wider Broome community. A special thanks to the Yawuru Land and Sea unit for their ongoing support.
Little Terns, you win!
25 July 2018
As a Summer visitor, the little tern migrates to Japan from Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand region every April. The little tern originally bred on sandy coasts, inlands with shingle and shells, and estuaries in central Japan. Recently, almost all their natural breeding grounds have been lost due to reclamations and development of industrial lands. So, currently, the Little Tern, lost their natural breeding grounds, breeds on the development lands before construction or during construction work. That’s why their breeding on the development lands often lead to friction with the land owners.
Last year, a flock of Little Terns started to breed on a development land which was owned by a local public company, and the land was scheduled to be used for a car event in a few weeks.
Because of our proposal to preserve the breeding area in the development land, the local public company had to develop an alternative area for the car event with huge cost.
In this year, the local public company, seemed to learn by the experience last year, tried to interrupt the breeding of Little Terns in the development land with huge cost, also at this time: spreading a large amount of dark sand, using streamers, and hiring a couple of workers to expel the Little Terns. I don’t know how much tax money was spent on this effort, though.
And you know what happened? The Little Terns come back again to the development land! And they started to breed in spite of interruption; the total number of Little Tern was about 600! Beloved Little Terns, you win!
This year, we started “Little Tern decoy project”. We made hundreds of Little Tern decoys by injection moulding and placed the decoys on three potential colony sites with the cooperation of private companies.
One small colony was made on one of the potential colony sites but breeding was unsuccessful due to chick predation by the Kestrel, a natural enemy of the Little Tern.
However, we felt a certain reaction to the decoy effect. So we will definitely make this project a success next year. We believe that this decoy project will produce good results for both Little Terns and humans in the future.
Aichi Branch, Wild Bird Society of Japan
Registration is now open for the 2018 Australasian Shorebird Conference, which is being held at the University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay campus, on the weekend of October 27 and 28, 2018.
Two days of oral presentations on research, conservation and management efforts on resident and migratory shorebirds will be given on the Conference theme, Losing their habitats – conservation and management strategies for migratory and resident shorebirds.
The deadline for submitting abstracts for oral presentations is 31 July. Please send your abstract to Eric Woehler as a Word file (.doc or .docx) with a title, author(s) and affiliations and no more than 150 words for the body of the abstract.
Learn about the valuable contribution of our New Zealand colleagues in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
This wonderful documentary demonstrates the achievements of this dedicated and tenacious NZ team and we congratulate them on their efforts. With the current political attention on this region, our challenge will be to preserve this vital refueling area.
View the TVNZ article and documentary.
Congratulations to the VWSG for winning the Victorian Coastal Award for Partnerships in Research and Monitoring (equal first with a combined team from Deakin Uni, Parks Vic and Uni of Melb for marine habitat amazing and monitoring). Find out more on the Victorian Coastal Council awards website.
Help Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists Trust create the world's biggest bird feeder!
An international effort to create possibly the largest ever supplementary feeding effort is underway - and its occurring at the Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust's sister site, Yalu Jiang National Nature reserve in Liaoning China.
The coldest winter in 49 years has led to the die-off of one of the most important food sources in the reserve, clams. This will have significant implications for 100,000+ Great Knots as well as the majority of New Zealnd's godwits on their way north, and expecting food to fatten up for the last leg of their journey to their breeding grounds. PMNT is collecting donations to purchase farmed shellfish to drop onto the mudflats.
Find out more and how you can help on the PMNT shorebird centre website.
April 3, 2018 - The 8th Year
And the exciting story of Bar-tailed Godwit TO continues. Today we saw TO for the 8th year in a row at the regular staging site Aphae Island, South Korea along with about 260 Godwit - 3 more orange flagged and one with a green flag. On the way to the site we saw also Orange-1E in Mokpo, a site that is about 16km from the site on Aphae Island. 1E visited Mokpo in 2013 and then every year was seen on Aphae Island; again a record indicating that the birds use all the sites in the region as one system.
Vale David Milton
28 April 1958 – 14 March 2018
Those that knew David Milton will be shocked to hear about his tragic passing recently. David was a member of the Queensland Wader Study Group (QWSG) as well as Birds Queensland. He was also Editor of the AWSG journal Stilt for many years, overseeing production of issues 33-44 between 1998 and 2003. David’s great contribution was through his expertise with data, but he was also an active organiser and participant in field surveys and catching. He will be sorely and sadly missed by many.
New photographic guide to the birds of China: Vol. 2 ShorebirdsThis new field guide by Lin Zhang has been recently published by The Straits Publishing and Distribution Group. The guide provides detailed, high quality photos of all recorded shorebird species in China, clearly pointing out key diagnostic features. Even without English translations, readers can still glean much from the images and pointers, and with the help of Google translate, key features can be easily determined. For shorebirders planning on travelling to China, this will be a worthy field companion.
11th Australasian Shorebird Conference 2018
Hobart, October 27 and 28
The 2018 Conference will be held on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October at the Life Sciences Lecture Theatre 1 in the Life Sciences building at the Sandy Bay campus of University of Tasmania, Hobart. The conference will run between 9am and 5pm each days, with a dinner on the Saturday night. More details to come closer to the time.
China to scale back reclamation projects in the Yellow Sea
January 18, 2018
The Chinese government has announced that it will halt all ‘business-related’ land reclamation along its coast. This is a huge step forward for the conservation of migratory shorebirds (and other species) in the EAAF. Further details can be found on The People's Republic of China State Council website and the Xinhua News. See also Birding Beijing for a discussion about the implications of the proposed changes.
The VWSG is buoyed by this fabulous news. We would once again like to thank all the people in the Flyway who have tirelessly campaigned for changes to China's policy on coastal land reclamation.
Upcoming VWSG cannon netting Corner Inlet
Jan 29 to Feb 1 2018
Corner Inlet is always one of the VWSG's most exciting and beautiful catch locations. The meeting place is Manns Beach Hall, Melway map 928 E9, on Sunday 28th January between 5 and 6pm.
Please contact Penny Johns if you're interested in joining the catch.
To see what was last year's news, please click on one of the following:
If there are any references to information you can't access through these archives, please request the information from Birgita Hansen.