Wednesday, 28 December 2016

New Southern African Wader book: quick review by Rick and Elis Simpson.

Our friends at Wader Quest South Africa Owen and Sue Oertli and Peter and Jenny Sharland and their respective families have sent us the new CHAMBERLAIN'S WADERS The Definitive Guide to Southern Africa's Shorebirds written and illustrated by Faansie Peacock! And what a book it is!

Tremendous new addition to our collection of wader books.

Not yet available in the UK (we believe it'll be out here in January and available from the nhbs) we have, what is probably, one of the first copies yet to make it to the UK and, to make this even more special, it has been signed by Faansie himself.

Signed by Faansie Peacock.

What is it like? 

'Fantastic' springs to mind as an immediate reaction. The illustrations are first rate (which will not surprise anyone familiar with Faansie's previous work) and the amount of information that is included about the 80 species of wader (which includes three buttonquails for the more modern waderologists out there), in an simple to understand and sometimes humorous manner, is extensive and easy to read.

There is a lot of detail about the life and biology of waders and some really helpful hints on how to identify them in all their plumages. This you would expect from a guide of this sort but, because it is about a specific region, Faansie has been able to helpfully included wader hotspots for anyone planning a trip to look for these wonderful birds. As not everyone will haveas we did, the advantage of help from the Wader Quest South Africa  team this will prove to be an essential bonus at the planning stage.

An example of the amazing plates

Obviously we haven't had a chance to read it cover to cover yet as it only arrived today (incredibly posted on the 23rd of December in Johannesburg) but we have seen enough to know we like it very much indeed and will be delving into it every opportunity we get in the next few days and weeks to come and, after that, it will form a useful part of our reference library filling a gap about the southern African waders that has existed for too long.

It is a fantastic achievement for one person to produce such an excellent piece of work creating both the brilliant illustrations and writing the comprehensive and authoritative text, we take our hats off the Faansie and offer him our congratulations on the publication of this beautiful book.

A huge thank you to the good folks of Wader Quest South Africa who have typically once more gone above and beyond the call of duty with their generosity and also to Faansie Peacock and Chamberlain for producing the newest stunning addition to our collection of wader books.

Best Christmas present ever!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

IUCN Red List of waders

Recently the IUCN released their new list of Red Data life forms. Among those are a disturbingly high number of waders. About 30% of all wader species are classified as Near Threatened (35), Vulnerable (10), Endangered (10), Critically Endangered (7), Extinct (6) or Data Deficient (1).

Of those considered Critically Endangered it is highly likely that four of them (Jerdon's Courser, Javan Lapwing, Slender-billed and Eskimo Curlew) are now also extinct making the extinct wader list slip into double figures.
Black-tailed Godwit: Elis Simpson

It is shocking to see so many of what in my youth were considered common species on the list of Near Threatened species; Northern Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Red Knot, Red-necked Stint and Semipalmated Sandpiper.

If there is any good news to come out of the latest list it is that one of the rarest birds in the world, the St Helena Plover or 'Wirebird' has been moved from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable; this despite the pressures that it has been facing with reduction in sheep grazing and a new airport. This better news is a result of the work being carried out to create new habitat for the bird which seems to have been rather successful as the adult population has grown slightly and has remained higher than 250 individuals since 2007.

Javan Lapwing: Elis Simpson BNHM
Here are the waders on the list:


Canarian Black Oystercatcher     Christmas Sandpiper     Moorea Sandpiper     Tahiti Sandpiper     North Island Snipe     South Island Snipe     

Critically Endangered

Black Stilt     Jerdon's Courser     Sociable Lapwing     Javan Lapwing     Eskimo Curlew     Slender-billed Curlew
Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Shore Plover: Elis Simpson

Australian Painted-Snipe     Chatham Island Oystercatcher      Southern Red-breasted Plover     Shore Plover     Obi Woodcock     Tuamotu Sandpiper    Nordmann's Greenshank Eastern Curlew     Great Knot     Plains Wanderer   


Wrybill: Elis Simpson
Madagascar Pratincole     Madagascar Plover     St Helena Plover    Wrybill     Hooded Plover     Amami Woodcock     Bristle-thighed Curlew     Chatham Island Snipe     Madagascar Snipe      Wood Snipe

Near Threatened

Diademed Sandpiper-Plover: Elis Simpson
Madagascar Jacana     Eurasian Oystercatcher     African Black Oystercatcher     Great Thick-knee     Beach Thick-knee     Black-winged Pratincole     River Lapwing     Northern Lapwing     Northern Red-breasted Plover Piping Plover     Javan Plover     Snowy Plover Malaysian Plover     Chestnut-banded Plover     Mountain Plover Diademed Sandpiper-Plover    Magellanic Plover     Bar-tailed Godwit     Black-tailed Godwit     Eurasian Curlew     Grey-tailed Tattler     Javan Woodcock    Sulawesi Woodcock     Great Snipe     Noble Snipe Fuegian Snipe      Imperial Snipe     Subantarctic Snipe     Asian Dowitcher     Red Knot     Semipalmated Sandpiper      Red-necked Stint     Curlew Sandpiper     Buff-breasted Sandpiper     

White-faced Plover: Elis Simpson
Data Deficient

White-faced Plover  

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Wader Conservation World Watch results.

Thank you to all who participated in WCWW3

We had a tremendous response to WCWW this year with many more observers from an increased number of countries; however between us we only managed to equal last year's tally of species.

This is of course not the most important thing as the point of the exercise is to raise the profile of wader conservation around the world, so, if more people in more countries are joining in, then we can say it has been a success.

2016 results

 124 species
 241 observers
38 countries
6 continents 

All those that entered should now have received their e-newsletter special edition which breaks down the records that we have been sent. The overall results of this year's event are on the Wader Conservation World Watch page along with the Roll of Honour, the species list and where the birds were seen. For those that were unable to join us this year, perhaps you'll be able to do so next year to make the event even bigger and better than ever.

As last year we held a Prize Draw for all participants and this year the main prize was a pair of binoculars donated by Opticron. The winner was Beatriz Blauth in Brazil and the bins are on their way to Brazil as we speak.

The second prize was one of Lars Jonsson's wonderful posters that he kindly signed for us when we were in Sweden. This prize was    won by Natalie Forsdick in New Zealand.

The third prize of a copy of Eury the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, signed by authors and artist, was won by Alexia Fishwick who is a member of the Friends of Wader Quest in the UK.

Finally Grace Maglio in Broome, a great supporter and Friend of Wader Quest whom we met when we visited Western Australia organised a special Prize Draw for all Australian participants the prize being a copy of the lovely painting by Milly Formby of a Pied Oystercatcher, donated by the artist herself. The winner of this lovely prize was Tiffanie Pearse who sent a list in from Darwin in the Northern Territories.

If anyone would like a copy of the newsletter please let us know by email and we'll send you a pdf.

Wader Conservation World Watch 2017

will take place on 
4th and 5th November 2017
Make a note in your diary to join in the fun.

If you participated this year please try do so again and try to get as many of your friends and colleagues to do the same as you can. Thanks again to all who participated and see you next November.