Friday, 22 May 2015

Little Curlew latest update from the Australian Wader Study Group

Here is a much-awaited update on the little curlew migration. While we weren’t watching, the remarkable journey across the hemispheres has continued. Since the last update all four little curlews have made huge leaps towards their next destination – China. The birds have flown 3500 - 5500 km and two are about half way to the breeding grounds! In this update we provide detailed accounts of their journeys to date – interestingly, they are all very different.

Little curlew 61, which departed from Anna Plains around the 24th May stopped over at Roti for about a week. It continued onto Sulawesi, Indonesia, and from there to Negros, Phillippines (~1400 km), where it appears to have made very short stop overs (approximately 2 and 4 days respectively).  It looks like it had another brief stop, 200 km north east of Manila, before heading due north towards China.

Another bird from Anna Plains (62) appears to have flown 3500 km in one go on the first leg of its migration. We think this bird left Australian shores on 27th or 28th of May and arrived on the tiny Cabunlauan Island of the Philippines on 30th April or 1st May (this island was erroneously referred to as Beni in the previous update). It rested there for just over a week and continued its northward migration with a brief stop 100 km north of Manila. It is currently tracking along the coast and over the sea, just east of Shanghai, China. Will it fly across the Yellow Sea without stopping?


The Broome bird (63) has progressed the least on its northward migration, but has nonetheless covered some 3500 km since departing around the 26th April. It had a brief stop-over at Lombok, Indonesia, then moved onto the neighbouring Sumbawa for about 10 days. It was tracking over and beyond Borneo on its last transmission.

Little curlew 65 initially travelled together with 61 for the first 500 km out of Australia. It stopped-over in Sulawesi for about a week and has just made it to the coast of China! It had another brief stop over of a few days on Palawan Island, Philippines. We had a bird stop-over on the same island in 2014. We’ll be able to tell you a bit more about the exact location of this bird after the next transmission, but for now, it looks like it’s between Shantou and Zhangzhou.

We are eagerly waiting for the next transmission to see if the rest have stopped in China. We’re also wondering if these birds will make it to the breeding grounds. Last year we had a bird arrive there around 24th May. Keep a look out for more updates to find out!

Til next time,
Inka Veltheim and Clive Minton on behalf of the AWSG

(We would also like to take this opportunity to note that the information we provide in these updates, including dates, distances and stop over durations are preliminary and may contain some inaccuracies. Full analysis of data will be undertaken at a later stage, which will allow for more accurate estimates on the birds’ migration)

Monday, 18 May 2015

Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair

Last weekend we attended the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair at Mannington Hall in Norfolk.

The Wader Quest stand at the 2015 Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair.

The weather was very kind to us being sunny but not too hot. The fair takes place in the magnificent grounds of Mannington Hall which is not only a lovely setting it is also steeped in history.

From our point of view we were happy to sign-up some new sponsors and receive renewals from some existing ones. Our talk 'Community Wader Conservation' seemed to be well received with the audience asking some interesting questions at the end and some signing up as a result.

Sales wise the most popular items were the Lars Jonsson Poster and the new pins, not to mention our £2 T shirts! We also launched our two new Wader Quest Collectables pins; No 7 Dunlin and No 8 Black Stilt.



As we have changed our logo and the cards are now professionally printed the back of them looks different too.


 We also launched three new earrings in the Jabebo range, these were Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Pied Avocet.




As always it was fun to see old friends and some of our sponsors and we were especially grateful as always for the help that Wildsounds gave us during the weekend. It was also good to meet new faces like Yoav Perlman one of our facebook friends (which are always fun to meet in person) who gave a talk on both days on conservation in Israel.

We also got a chance to chat to the delightful Tina Lindsay one of the BBF organisers who is usually too busy for such things at the fair itself and to see Wader Quest Trustee Allan Archer and his wife Denise away from the formality of the meeting room!

We particularly enjoyed watching Sally May carving owls out of tree trunks with a chainsaw, a great talent and wish our neighbours Robert Fryer who has a talent for wood-turning and the good folk trying to protect Easthaugh Lakes the best of luck in their endeavours.

There were many more, and too many to mention here, that we met and talked to and we appreciated the encouragement we received from everyone. It is sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but the warm and friendly support we received at the fair from everyone was enough to keep our spirits up and engines fuelled for some time to come.

We'll be back next year.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Internship opportunity in South Africa - Nature's Valley Trust





COASTAL SHOREBIRD CONSERVATION FIELD RESEARCH IN SOUTH AFRICA — WHITE-FRONTED PLOVER & AFRICAN BLACK OYSTERCATCHER (VOLUNTEER/STUDY CREDIT)

Skip the winter blues by joining summer shorebird conservation research on South Africa’s gorgeous Garden Route!

ORGANIZATIONS: Nature’s Valley Trust & Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Univ. of Cape Town.

LOCATION: Southern shore of South Africa.

NUMBER OF POSITIONS: 3.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: 30 June 2015, but positions filled as qualified applicants are selected.

DURATION: 3-5 months; Breeding season runs Sept. to April, with flexibility for internship timing. Preferably
N. Hemisphere Fall 2015 semester, summer in S. Hemisphere. You will have most field time from Sept. to
Jan.; if you choose an internship from Jan., there is less field work, but carries the benefit of data management & analysis.

DUTIES:
• On-foot beach surveys for breeding, nest/brood monitoring, other observations of predation, disturbance, and tourism use.
• Collecting scientific field notes.
• Data entry, checking, and analysis; other administrative tasks.
• Producing various documents, educational & awareness materials, participation in related events.
• 5-6 working days per week, including weekends and public holidays.

QUALIFICATIONS:
• Self-motivated, flexibility, work independently & with others, while following methodology & procedure.
• Trustworthy, show integrity & dedication, sense of responsibility/accountability.
• Observational skills, with particular attention to detail & accuracy.
• An interest in birds and coastal conservation research.
• Physical fitness, willingness to spend long hours in the field, in potentially averse conditions (i.e. up to 12 hrs walking in soft sand & some rock scrambling, in summer heat with salt spray & wind, carrying pack).
• Ability to engage with the public regarding research & conservation.
• Preferably have or be studying toward a qualification in a related biological field, such as: Zoology, Ecology, Ornithology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, Nature Conservation, Wildlife/Natural Resource/Integrated Coastal Zone Management, etc.
• Some field experience with birding, nest searching, band re-sighting, animal tracking, and/or bird handling is advantageous, but not necessary. Your willingness to learn & actively participate is most important!
• Some experience with GPS/GIS technology & software beneficial, but not required.

PERKS:
• Residing in Nature’s Valley, on South Africa’s Garden Route, a stunning location surrounded by beautiful beaches, forests, mountains, & breathtaking landscapes, with plenty of exciting activities available during off time.
• Working with a fantastic environmental NGO on a highly impactful project, affiliated with the TOP university & leading academic institute in Ornithology on the African continent!
• You will get much individual support & hands-on training in the field.
• This experience is highly applicable to many shorebird conservation programs conducted around the world, particularly the United States (i.e. Snowy & Piping Plovers).
• Opportunity for involvement in other projects (bird banding, education programs, etc.).
• The Nature’s Valley Trust is willing to discuss requirements with your university for study credits.

COST:
• R4,000 per month (±300 US$), which covers shared housing/utilities, field transportation, office space (including WiFi), program participation, & mentoring.
• The Nature’s Valley Trust unfortunately cannot offer assistance with travel costs or other living expenses. Cost of living is comparatively low in South Africa.

CONTACT:
• If interested, please send CV & short motivation letter, or any other enquiries via e-mail with the subject “SHOREBIRD INTERNSHIP” to: selenaflores AT gmail.com.
• For more information on the Nature’s Valley Trust, see naturesvalleytrust.co.za. For a preview of what you’re getting yourself into, see: gardenrouteshorebirds.tumblr.com, and for information on the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, see: fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za.