On A Whimbrel & A Prayer #6

Congratulations to KS!

Six weeks have passed since KS arrived at the breeding grounds. Over the past few weeks we have begun to observe some movement away from its nesting area, suggesting it has newly hatched young!

In the previous ‘Updates’ we’ve seen KS settle down at its nesting location in week 2 (Figures 1a. & 1b.). Whimbrel incubation takes about 4 weeks, with both parents sharing the duty.

Figure 1. Week 2
Figure 1a. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 2: 6 Jun to 12 Jun
Figure 1b. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 3: 13 Jun to 19 Jun
Figure 1b. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 3: 13 Jun to 19 Jun

Starting from the 4th week, KS began to move between its nesting location and another location about 12km south-west (Figure 1c.). On the 5th week, it even left the nesting location for a week and forage in an area with small lakes about 40km north-east (Figure 1d.), which is an obvious indication that its young has hatched.

Figure 1. Week 4
Figure 1c. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 4: 20 Jun to 26 Jun
Figure 1d. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 5: 27 Jun to 3 Jul
Figure 1d. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 5: 27 Jun to 3 Jul

In Week 6, KS came back to the nesting area with occasional movement to the same area in the south-west where it visited in Week 4. It will take another month for KS’s young to fledge and it is expected that KS and its partner will stay around to take care of their offspring.

Figure 1e. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 6: 4 Jul to 9 Jul
Figure 1e. Movement of KS around nesting location - Week 6: 4 Jul to 9 Jul

Whimbrel KU

Based on KU’s movements, it looks as though it is still incubating its eggs. Let’s hope we can observe similar movement of KU away from the nesting location in the coming weeks.

Figure 2a. Movement of KU around nesting location - Week 3: 21 Jun to 27 Jun
Figure 2a. Movement of KU around nesting location - Week 3: 21 Jun to 27 Jun
Figure 2a. Movement of KU around nesting location - Week 4: 28 Jun to 4 Jul
Figure 2a. Movement of KU around nesting location - Week 4: 28 Jun to 4 Jul

Meanwhile, we still receive regular signals from both LA (at Eighty Mile Beach) and JX (at Palawan, the Philippines).

Migration tracks of Whimbrels
Migration tracks & summary of satellite-tagged Whimbrels, KS, KU, JX & LA as of 9 July 2017

Acknowledgements

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
Author
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.
Image credits:

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Get Ready for Adventure!

Amellia Formby is preparing to fly her microlight around Australia is 2022 to share the amazing lives of shorebirds with students through her upcoming children’s book, Shorebirds Are Awesome! 

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