Friends of Shorebirds SE

FOSSE was formed in 2005 to conduct wader and tern monitoring in south-eastern South Australia. FOSSE and the VWSG have been closely collaborating since that time to catch and band waders.

The objectives of the group are to:

  • To protect waders and terns and their habitat. 
  • To be involved with public education, research and conservation programmes. 
  • To co-operate with like-minded associations to achieve the first two aims.

Primary targets for monitoring are Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling and Grey Plover, as well as a small selection of other migratory and resident wader species. The group contributes to Little Tern monitoring, the VWSG Banded Stilt monitoring, and wader population monitoring in the region, coordinated by BirdLife Australia’s Shorebirds 2020 program.

FOSSE is also heavily involved with protecting beach nesting species of both waders and terns, which includes contributing to the Hooded Plover program.

Satellite tracking of Grey Plover has been one of FOSSE’s specialist research projects in the Gulf of St Vincent.

FOSSE committee

Vice ChairVicki Natt
Secretary / TreasurerMaureen
Media OfficerCalling for volunteers!

FOSSE members at the 10 year AGM. Photo Sarah Campbell.

Grey Plover tracking in South Australia

Click here to read the Grey Plover satellite tracking updates

This project is being managed by Maureen Christie (E and Tony Flaherty, Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges (E

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.

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 South 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.

There is a Facebook page that Tony updates that covers this material plus more that can be found at: Facebook – Grey Plover