The Far Eastern Curlew Project – Update #2

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More tags in the bag

During February, the Australasian Wader Studies Group successfully caught and tagged a further 8 Far Eastern Curlew in northwest Australia as part of their annual wader and tern expedition to Broome’s Roebuck Bay. 

This brings the total number of tagged curlews in Australia up to 20 birds, with 18 transmitters currently operational:

  • Darwin, NT: 2 of 3 tags operational
  • Broome, WA: 7 of 8 tags operational
  • Koo Wee Rup, VIC: 3 tags
  • Moreton Bay, QLD: 6 tags

What an incredible achievement!

Tagged Far Eastern Curlew with engraved leg flag 43.

Naming of the Curlews: the Wader Women

I wanted to name our tagged Curlew after the women that I have had the pleasure of working with while researching these incredible shorebirds. The Wader Women are an inspirational bunch that have helped me at various stages of fieldwork, writing, analysis and in discussions and decision making.

These Wader Women are just a few special people from the shorebird community that have left an impression on me and I have been fortunate enough to have their support and encouragement. If we had more tagged birds, then we could name each bird after all the amazing volunteers that work so hard in this area.

Our tagged Wader Women are: Grace Maglio, Micha Jackson, Roz Jessop, Prue Wright, Maureen Christie, Birgita Hansen, Milly Formby and Inka Veltheim. Thank you!

Far Eastern Curlew being fitted with satellite tag
Grace Maglio fitting a Far Eastern Curlew with a satellite transmitter.

On the move

Far Eastern Curlews in Broome, Western Australia

Here are the movements of the seven curlews captured in Roebuck Bay, WA, over the last fortnight. You will notice that most of the movements are within similar areas. Birds seem to be moving from the mudflats along Crab Creek to saltmarsh ‘out the back’ of the mangroves. A few birds made further movements to roosts west of the Broome Bird Observatory.

NB: ELF = engraved leg flag

FEC Update 2 - GRACE
Yellow ELF 16 = GPS Tag 17006 - GRACE
FEC Update 2 - MICHA
Yellow ELF W2 = GPS tag 17008 - MICHA
Yellow ELF 17 = GPS tag 180111 - ROZ
FEC Update 2 - PRUE
Yellow ELF 43 = GPS tag 180112 – PRUE
FEC Update 2 - MAUREEN
Yellow ELF = GPS tag 180113 – MAUREEN
FEC Update 2 - Birgita
Yellow ELF 26 = GPS tag 180114 – BIRGITA
FEC Update 2 - INKA
Yellow ELF 13 = GPS tag 182226 – INKA

Far eastern Curlews in Koo Wee Rup, Victoria

Since being tagged at the end of January, all three Far Eastern Curlews – named Koo, Wee and Rup – have made regular small movements between Yallock Creek,  Jam Jerrup, Gurdies Bay and to mudflats on the eastern side of French Island.

With April closely approaching, we eagerly anticipate the day these birds begin their northward migration!

Thank you to all the people that have been involved so far and continue to be involved in this shorebird journey.

To learn more about the Far Eastern Curlew Project, visit the Threatened Species Recovery Hub.


Thanks go to the National Environment Science Programme Threatened Species Recovery Hub, Darwin Port, Larrakia Nation and the Larrakia Indigenous People whose land we work on, The Australasian Wader Studies Group, The Victorian Wader Study Group, the Queensland Wader Study Group, Wader Quest, Charles Darwin University, the University of Queensland, the Quandamooka People, the Boon Wurrung People, the Yawuru People via the offices of Nyamba Buru Yawuru Limited for permission to catch birds on the shores of Roebuck Bay, traditional lands of the Yawuru people, and all the enthusiastic volunteers that put their time into catching and resighting birds.

To learn more about the Far Eastern Curlew Project, visit the Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

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Amanda Lilleyman
Amanda Lilleyman is a shorebird researcher based in the Northern Territory. She has been working on shorebirds since 2010 when she first became interested in the Bush Stone-curlew, or as local Darwinites call it the ‘Creepy Curlew’. Since then Amanda discovered migratory shorebirds and became fascinated by them, their curious identification and migration abilities. Amanda works to conserve shorebirds by understanding how they interact with the environment and what they need to continue existing in this human-dominated world.
Image credits:
Book cover for A Shorebird Flying Adventure

A Shorebird Flying Adventure

Available Now

Join Milly on her microlight and discover how amazing and awesome migratory shorebirds are!

Milly Formby is a zoologist and illustrator of the children’s book A Shorebird Flying Adventure. Available now through CSIRO Publishing.

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