17 July 2017
Chris Hassell, Global Flyway Network (GFN)
I still really don’t like Whistling Kites. But this time they didn’t stop a catch being
made but they did make life difficult for the birds and us at release. Eventually we
kept over 100 birds and let them go on dusk when the kites had finally disappeared.
The net set was done by just 3 people (thanks Emilia and Kerry) and the cages by just
5 (added thanks to John and Brad). But small is efficient!
The kites had been completely absent on the previous 2 days when I was reccying for
the catch but they showed up during the net set, then didn’t show up during the
catch but were prominent again after the catch. Basically when people were visible
on the beach the kites were around. I don’t believe they have learnt from our
activities as we haven’t had this issue this year or last to my memory (Brahminy Kites
are our usual concern) and at least one of the kites is a young bird. Maybe they get
easy scraps from people fishing and this attracts them to human activity on the
The previous 2 days high tides before the catch had me watching about 1,000 birds
very settled on Eagles Roost (ER) so you can imagine my dismay when every single
migrant shorebird flew past ER without a glance at the beach on catch day. I couldn’t
see what the problem was. After a few fly pasts finally a few birds landed and, as is
very often the case, that is all we needed to bring in more and more. The flock was
spread well up from the tide line and I was able to take a big catch without a single
bird in the water.
A very inexperienced team were fantastic at the net and we had 273 birds in the
cages in no time and 70 Great Knot released directly from the net. And at the end of
the day 60 more Great Knot released form the cages un-banded. Despite the
releases the totals were very good for a dry season catch with an inexperienced
team. We got off the beach with the last bit of gear as it went dark!
A huge thank you to everyone who helped. This was citizen science in action!
There was an interesting Red Knot retrap. It had 100% breeding plumage and had
been banded originally on 16/08/2008. It was aged as 3+ then so is now 11+ (in its
11th year of life or older). It may be a lot older than that and possibly it is very old
and that is why it has not migrated.
We also re-trapped 2 Great Knots that had satellite transmitters on. The birds and
the transmitters were in good health. (If any one has any images of these birds could
they forward them on to me please?)
All in all a very successful day, once again thank you to everyone for your input to
the GFN and Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) projects. We couldn’t do it without you.
Catch details below.