VWSG Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper geolocator news

In both the summers of 2017/18 and 2019/20 we deployed 60 geolocators on each Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpipers. While the Curlew Sandpipers utilised the 0.65g geolocator used for Ruddy Turnstone, the Red-necked Stint were fitted with a miniaturised geolocator weighing only 0.3g but with otherwise similar capabilities to the 0.65 loggers aside from a shorter battery life. Following some intensive and challenging efforts to retrieve the instruments from the returning birds, we achieved a total of 19 retrievals for Red-necked Stint and 18 for Curlew Sandpipers over the two years. After downloading, these resulted in 17 viable sets of data for Red-necked Stints and 15 sets for Curlew Sandpipers.

Simeon Lisovski has undertaken an analysis of these data and come up with some exciting findings. You can find an overview of the results on Simeon’s github site. The main finding was that Curlew Sandpipers are more reliant on the heavily impacted Yellow Sea area, during both their northward and southward migration. In comparison, Red-necked stint seem to make use of a lot more sites scattered along the flyway, which may result in more resilience for habitat deterioration. A secondary finding was two curlew sandpipers that made remarkable deviations from the general migration pattern for this species.

These exciting results could not have been possible without the dedication of all those VWSG citizen scientists who participated in deploying and retrieving these loggers; at times, these teams faced varying degrees of challenge and adversity. We want to express our sincere thanks to all. Local land holders are thanked for access to their properties.