The Far Eastern Curlew Project – Update #4

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All together now

Here are the movements of GPS-tagged Far Eastern Curlew from Darwin in the Northern Territory, Roebuck Bay in Western Australia, and Yallock Creek in Victoria. We now have 14 operational tags from these three sites, and an additional 6 tags from Moreton Bay in Queensland. We plan on providing a full update on all tagged Curlew across Australia, we are just automating how we do this so we can quickly report on all birds as they undertake exciting migration movements!

This is a brief summary of the raw, unfiltered movements of Far Eastern Curlew from three sites.

Far eastern curlew
Far Eastern Curlew being fitted with a satellite transmitter by Amanda Lilleyman in Darwin, Northern Territory.

Curlew commutations

FAR EASTERN CURLEWS IN Darwin, Northern Territory

Two Curlews, AMANDA and DAMIEN, are still in Darwin Harbour doing regular movements from East Arm Wharf to mudflats close by. 

Amanda - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 17004 – AMANDA
Damien - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 17007 – DAMIEN

Our third Darwin Curlew, GAVIN, last transmitted on 22nd March, 2019 so may be out of phone reception. Here is its last position from Amami, Japan when the tag was communicating with us. Watch this space

Gavin - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 182228 – GAVIN

Far Eastern Curlews in Broome, Western Australia

All of the Far Eastern Curlews tagged in Broome are on migration and are making their way through Asia!

The tag for INKA has also come back online since the last report.

Far eastern Curlews in Koo Wee Rup, Victoria

Two of the Curlew from Victoria – KOO and WEE – are still positioned on the Yellow Sea in China.

Koo - FEC Update 4
Koo - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 182225 – KOO, on coastline of Zhoushan, just south of Shanghai, China.
Wee - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 182227 – WEE, near Yalu Jiang, Liaoning, China.

The third Curlew from Victoria, RUP, had a very rough go over the last few weeks!

RUP left Yallock Creek left VIC on 15th March, 2019 but took a path over Mildura, Victoria, over the Lake Frome and Lake Eyre regions of South Australia then up through central Australia into the Northern Territory where it flew over Barkly Station and continued north over the western Top End. 

This bird made landfall on 17th March, 2019 along the banks of Mann River, south of Maningrida in the Northern Territory. It then flew east towards Milingimbi and stopped at the Crocodile Islands for a few days. Its next few positions were from the Gulf of Carpentaria on 22nd March, 2019 – exactly when Tropical Cyclone Trevor (category 4) was heading towards Borroloola. It then made landfall on the coast just north of Karumba. A week later it flew east over Queensland to the wet tropics area, where it was close to Cairns. But it flew further south and then touched down just behind the Townsville Town Common where it has been ever since! It has been moving between this wetland and the intertidal area of Bushland Beach, just north-west of Townsville.

Rup - FEC Update 4
GPS tag 182229 – RUP, in Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Acknowledgements

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
Author
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.
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