On A Whimbrel & A Prayer #14

Reunion on the way home

Last but not least, Whimbrel KU has decided to move south after staying at the Yellow Sea for 50 days and has joined KS in South East Sulawesi!

Migration tracks & summary of satellite-tagged Whimbrels, KU, KS, JX & LA as of 1 October, 2017

Whimbrel KU

Very similar to KS on its southward migration, KU departed Yingkou in Liaoning Province at night on September 24th and flew continuously for 6 days to arrive at South East Sulawesi. This 6-day flight covered a distance of 5,072km with an average speed of 35.2kph.

Figure 1. KU’s southward migration from Yellow Sea to Sulawesi

To our surprise, KU joined KS to stopover at south-east Sulawesi, where they are only 60km apart from each other.

It is amazing to see these two birds once again using similar stopover sites. Earlier this year during the northward migration, they reunited at the Yellow Sea in Panjin, Liaoning Province, sharing similar paddy field habitats just 50km apart from each other. After a successful breeding season in Siberia, four and a half months later they reunite again in Sulawesi!

Figure 2. Whimbrel Update #14
Figure 1. KU’s southward migration from Yellow Sea to Sulawesi


Clive Minton

The extensive and expensive satellite tracking program we have set up in NWA has only been possible through the efforts and generosity of a large number of people and organizations. It is difficult to know where to start with the formal acknowledgements so I will list them – but not in any particular order of priority.

  1. The members of the AWSG NWA 2019 Wader and Tern Expedition and similar NWA expeditions in previous years, are particularly thanked for their efforts in the field in catching, banding and deploying transmitters on a range of species.
  2. Landowners are especially thanked for permission to go onto their property to enable us to catch various species in order to deploy the satellite transmitters. In particular we thank Anna Plains Station for giving us the freedom to roam over large areas of grazed grassland when counting and catching target species.
  3. AWSG acknowledges 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.
  4. AWSG acknowledges the Karajarri and Nyangumarta people for permission to catch birds to be marked for this project on the shores of 80 Mile Beach, traditional lands of the Karajarri and Nyangumarta.
  5. The cost of the satellite transmitters, which cost around $5000 each, and the satellite downloading costs (around $1000-1500 per month) have been met by a variety of sources. Private individuals (Charles Allen and Doris Graham) have made most generous individual contributions. Kate Gorringe-Smith and her team of artists involved in The Overwintering Project made a large, generous donation from funds raised during their various public exhibitions. The annual NWA Expedition members, collectively, also provided significant funds each year.
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Katherine Leung
Katherine Leung is an ecologist from Hong Kong and one of the leaders of the satellite-tracking projects run by the Australasian Wader Studies Group in north-west Australia since 2016.
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A Shorebird Flying Adventure

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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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