On April 21 the Australian Shorebird Habitat Directory was launched – the same day as World Curlew Day. This is a landmark accomplishment for the team, and celebrates thousands of surveys undertaken by volunteers over many years.
This document will be valuable to consultants, NRM managers, teachers, rangers, and anyone involved with planning, assessments, or protected area management. It is hoped this document will lead to better conservation decision-making.
April 16, 2021
Roosting is not relaxing
Andreas Kim has sent through some Victorian sightings from Korea
The first two Bar-tailed Godwit with an orange flag were seen on Aphae Island on April 2nd and 3rd, 1B and ACC, both now seen already for the seventh year at the site. Other ones like HZX and CKX have also returned to the site as well as CY, now seen for the eighth year.
But there were also HVY, P1 and YS which were seen at the site for the first time, but only on one day and they were most likely just making a short stop on their way further north into the Yellow Sea.
Also seen for the first time was an individual with a plain flag on the right tibia and the metal band upside down on the left tibia. Two digits can be seen but a search in the database gave no result. Maybe someone can remember having banded this bird and it is possible to id it – wouldn’t that be great?
In addition two more, one female one male, with just a plain flag were seen – some older folks still fit for the long migration trips.
Over the years a few broken flags have been seen, but this year on Godwit showed a broken flag with very sharp edged contours that one wonders how this could happen and how the bird does not get injured.
March 31, 2021
AGL gas terminal proposal in Western Port rejected
It was with a great feeling of joy that I heard the announcement that the government had rejected AGL’s plan to build a floating gas terminal at Crib Point. It is very pleasing that environmental issues have at last taken precedence over dubious economic ones. Western Port Bay is a Ramsar site, and it would have been extremely disappointing to see government ignoring their obligations under this treaty. This refusal is a tribute to the many thousands of people and organisations that have worked tirelessly over 3 years to ensure this decision. Another risk to the Eastern Curlew has been defeated!
My father, Ken Rogers, died in his sleep on 18th February. He was 81.
Dad made a very substantial contribution to Australian shorebird studies over the years. He was a regular participant in the VWSG field program in the 1980’s (along with the rest of the Rogers family). From 2003 to 2006 he was editor of Stilt, his period at the helm culminating in Stilt 50, a bumper edition (325 pages) which provided a broad (and sobering) overview of shorebird status throughout the flyway. It is still a very useful publication, and it played a role in the increasing emphasis on international shorebird conservation by the AWSG.
Dad’s greatest contribution was less visible. He was a statistical modeller in his working life, and he brought these skills to the Australasian shorebird scene at a time when shorebirds were not a focus of Australian academia. Analysing and publishing the already enormous datasets of the AWSG fell on the shoulders of amateurs, and it was a serious challenge in those days. Dad’s ability to design and carry out rigorous analyses made a huge difference. Moreover, he was very generous with his time, and great fun to work with. He wrote or co-authored quite a lot of papers in the 1990s and 2000’s. There were many more papers in which Dad’s work was done behind the scenes, helping others to get their work to publication standard.
February 26, 2021
Report on VWSG Cannon Netting Training Day
Our first ever VWSG training day was held at Yallock Creek on Sunday 21 February. The plan was to have small groups and give everyone some hands-on experience with every aspect of net setting with plenty of time to ask questions. We had nine willing participants and seven trainers.
The topics covered were:
Deciding where to set the net – last tide wrack line, weather predictions, high or low pressure and wave action, slope of beach, and presence of rocks;
Laying out the net – jump ropes, furling, pulling in the corners, markers, jiggler;
Cannons – loading cartridges, loading cannons, placing the cannons and setting the angle;
Wiring in – checking the circuit, checking the firing box, solving problems with the circuit;
Post-firing – setting up keeping cages, runners, shade cloth, bird bags, differences between small and large mesh nets, wet catches, etc.
Although the training took longer than expected everyone seemed to enjoy the day and felt they had learned a lot. We plan to run another session for less experienced members in the future.
Please contact the Chair if you are interested in future training sessions.
February 22, 2021
BirdMark is live!
The new BirdMark portal, which is specially designed to submit your resightings of colour marked waders along our flyway has gone live. This new site will significantly advance the capability for managing and reporting on leg flag sightings from around the flyway. Check it out!
February 22, 2021
The Overwintering Project: Westernport and the Wall of Wings!
Both exhibitions begin on Saturday March 6 2021. The Overwintering Project: Westernport focusses on Melbourne’s Westernport Bay as internationally significant migratory shorebird habitat. The exhibition features 20 curated artists, 13 of whom have produced new work in a variety of media inspired by the local Westernport environment. Their work will be shown in conjunction with the Overwintering Project Print Portfolio, a growing collection of 300+ original prints made by artists from Australia and New Zealand in response to the unique nature of their local migratory shorebird habitat.
Only an hour from Melbourne, Westernport is a unique and internationally significant wetland with incredibly rich biodiversity. Westernport’s uniqueness is recognized through its cultural identity as the land of the Bunurong / BoonWurrung people, the traditional custodians of these lands and waters, and its designation as a Ramsar site (or internationally significant wetland), a UN Biosphere and a BirdLife Australia Key Biodiversity Area. It is also party to three international migratory bird agreements, with Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.
December 09, 2020
Ruddy Turnstone wanderings
Maureen Christie and her intrepid team made a catch of Ruddy Turnstones in late October 2020 in which they retrieved 2 geolocators near Carpenter Rocks in South Australia.
The great news from these geolocators is that we have now retrieved six northward migration tracks from turnstone VAZ/ATZ – which had its first geo put on with the assistance of Newbery Park Primary School November 2013.
The second bird YUV has provided 5 northward migration tracks now which is almost as impressive as VAZ/ATZ! The geolocator light data from YUV also shows signs of incubation.
This is a remarkable effort for both the birds and banding team!
These are 2 fascinating and useful results in that they provide more information to assist in our longitudinal studies of an individual’s strategies over sequential years. To have these data for 5 and 6 years from these two birds is a great result. Thanks to the ongoing work of Maureen and the dedicated SE SA team for their efforts.
November 18, 2020
On the Wings of a Godwit
You are invited to musical meditation to the ends of the earth and back…
Performances: 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 6pm, November 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28 29. Suggested Price: $15, tickets available here Duration: 20mins
‘On the Wings of a Godwit’ is a 20-minute, immersive, online guided meditation of music, birdsong and spoken word that takes the listener on a journey from the continental shores of Australasia to the tundra of Siberia. We invite you, the listener, to become a migratory bird, overwintering between your summer homes, following a flyway path that has been travelled for thousands of years.
Bird migration and colour marking webinar November 21
The Bombay Natural History Society in Mumbai is running a webinar on ‘Bird Migration and Colour Marking -Decoding Tagged Bird Sightings‘. Chris Hassell will be joining other shorebirds researchers to speak on how colour marking has been instrumental in understanding certain aspects of bird ecology and migration. You can find out more about flagging in the Central Asian Flyway and hear how to contribute to global studies on bird migration.
Date and time: Saturday, Nov 21, 2020, 11:30 AM – 01:00 PM, IST