It is disappointing that the last two transmitters on the Grey-tailed Tattlers have not sent any further signals since 18-Aug. Again, there is no obvious evidence to determine whether this is due to breakdown of the tags or the death of the birds.
August 06, 2018
Tattlers start heading south
It has been about 9 weeks since our satellite tagged Tattlers arrived the breeding ground, happy to see that they are now on their way back south!
Two of our Tattlers have successfully bred in Siberia. They were using different breeding area more than 1,500km apart, while LDU bred in Krasnoyarsk Krai and LBU bred in Sakha Republic, not too far from Whimbrel KU’s breeding location.
LDU arrived breeding ground on 9-Jun. Two locations 20-30km south-east of its nest were explored in the first 2 weeks. Two weeks later since 23-Jun it had finally settled down at its nesting location. Since then it has hardly move more than 2km away from its nest.
Satellite signal from 2-Aug show that LDU has departed from its nesting location. More accurate signals are to be received in the coming few days to confirm it has started southward migration.
The other Tattler LBU is relatively more efficient in finding a nesting location. Only after a week since arrival, it has determined to nest at a river valley in the north of the Verkhoyansk Range and utilise two other locations 12km west and 10km south possibly as foraging sites away from its nest.
After 6 weeks breeding time, LBU departed breeding location on 30-Jul and flew 1,400km south to reach a stop-over area in Sakha just north of the Stanovoy Range.
Unfortunately, our 2 other Tattler’s transmission have ceased in early and mid-Jun after they reached Russia. It could not be determined whether this is due to breakdown of the tag or the death of the bird.
June 09, 2018
Tattlers now in Russia
All 4 tattlers proceeded to Russia in the last week of May. The first tattlers to set off is LBX which left the Fujian coast on 24-May after stopped over for 9 days. It then flew continuously for 6 days to reach an estuary in Khabarovsk Krai in Russia. After resting for a day, it continued to fly north-east to reach Magadan and apparently starting to breed.
Similarly, LBU, which also stopped over in South-east coast of China in Zhejiang Province, departed 2 days later and flew >3200km to reach southern Sakha Republic. It then continued flying north to arrive its breeding site on 5-Jun.
LDU departed North Vietnam a day later on 27-May. It has taken an inland route to arrive Krasnoyarsk Krai on 3-Jun. After stopped over at 2 locations in Krasnoyarsk Krai for a day each on 3- Jun and 7-Jun, it then flew north to reach breeding site on 9-Jun.
LDN was the last Tattler to depart for Russia. It left Guangxi Province on 30-May and reached Sakha Republic on 3-Jun. It apparently is still flying to find its breeding site on 9-Jun.
May 19, 2018
Fuelling up: tattlers on mainland Asia
Comparing to the Whimbrels, our Grey-tailed Tattlers are still far from the breeding ground.
Over the past week, LDN and LDU remained at their stop-over site in Southern China and North Vietnam. Both areas are estuary intertial mudflat.
Unfortunately, the transmitter on LBZ has ceased on 4-May-18, 3 days after it arrived in the Philippines. The other 2 Tattlers which stop-over in the Philippines departed a week ago and arrived in Southern China on 15-May-18. LBU and LBX both stayed in the Philippines for 7 days and made a move on 12-May-18. They arrived in Zhejiang and Fujian Province respectively, both using coastal mudflat.
May 10, 2018
Tattler migration has started
Between 25-Apr and 2-May, the five satellite tagged Grey-tailed Tattlers at Eighty Mile Beach have also started their migration.
LBX and LDN were the first two to depart on 25-Apr evening. Rather than making a direct long-haul flight to the Northern hemisphere, they both decided to make a stop in Borneo. LBX stopped for 5 days at the east coast of Borneo in North Kalimantan, a site which was also popular for Great Knot and Red Knot as per previous satellite tracking data. LDN landed on the west coast of Borneo on the Malaysian side near the town Bintulu and stayed for 8 days.
LDN then moved on migrating north to reach Guangxi Province in China on 8-May-18 and is currently just less than 140km from the forth departing Tattler LDU. LDU departed Australia on 28-Apr-18 evening and made a direct 5-day flight to reach Leizhou Peninsular in Guangdong Province. After stopping for a day, it flew west and crossed the China-Vietnam boarder.
Similar to LDU, the remaining two Tattlers, LBZ and LBU also made a direct flight to their first stop-over site in the Philippines. They departed 26-Apr-18 and 2-May-18 respectively and spent 3-4 days flight over 3,200km to reach the Philippines. They were joined by LBX after its stop-over in east Borneo.
April 18, 2018
Satellite tagged grey-tailed tattler 2018
During this year AWSG’s North-west Australia Waders and Terns Expedition, the team deployed five 2g satellite transmitters on Grey-tailed Tattler at Eighty Miles Beach on 16-Feb-18. Unlike the 5g satellite transmitters on Whimbrel, these 2g tags transmit signals whenever the solar battery is sufficiently charged. Over the past 2 months, these five tattlers have utilised areas up to 23km south to 48km north to the location where they were first captured (15km south to the Anna Plains entrance to the beach).
These birds are expected to start migrating north by the end of this month and their news will also be updated here.
April 11, 2017
Grey-tailed tattler satellite tracking 2017
During the NWA 2017 Expedition, in February 2017, recently released 2g transmitters, developed by Microwave Telemetry Inc. (MTI), were deployed on five Grey-tailed Tattler at 80 Mile Beach.
However by April, all five of the satellite transmitters had already ceased sending transmissions! This is a disastrous outcome for an outlay of $25,000 on these new super light-weight (2g) units. These units differ in a number of ways from the 5g units. In particular, the aerial doubles-up as the harness system to attach the transmitter to the bird via wing-loops and a neck-loop. The harnesses superficially appear very light-weight and potentially vulnerable to damage. The fact that this is probably the cause of the premature failures is supported by the fact that one of the Tattlers was sighted and photographed in the field at 80 Mile Beach.
All five tattlers were captured at the section of beach 40km south of the Anna Plain Station entrance of the beach and released the day after at the Anna Plain entrance (0km).
HYC, HYV, HVD and HYP were released on 14 February. HYC lingered at the release site for three days and then signals indicated the bird flew inland, which was unusual for a Tattler. The transmitter once stopped working on 25 February but then come back to send lower quality signals on 7 March until today. It is looking likely that the bird might be predated and the transmitter carried to an inland location by the predator, where the transmitter still occasionally receive solar energy for transmitting.
Since then, it looked like HYV, HVD and HYP moved southward along the beach as a group. Seven days after they were released, they were back to where they were first caught at 40 km south of the Anna Plain Station entrance. HYV stayed at 40km until mid-March and then moved to the beach section between 15km and 20km in late March. We lost the signal from HVD on 11 March, HYP on 9 March and HVD on 21 March. HVD was sighted on 7-8 April, still carrying its transmitter but with a part of the harness damaged and all of the aerial missing.
Captured and released a day later, the fifth Tattler HVT behaved a bit different to the others. Upon releasing on 15 February, it first spent three days north of the 0km Anna Plain Station entrance, and then spent 3 days moving southward to where it was first caught at 40 km. HVT has been staying around that area since then until the last signal receive on 30 March.
Regardless of the early failure of these transmitters on the Tattlers, it is still very interesting to see the high site fidelity of these individuals to certain section of 80 Mile Beach.