Sad loss of “father of wader studies” in EAAF, Clive Minton, 1934-2019

Clive Dudley Thomas Minton 1934-2019

Clive Minton, a father figure in global wader studies, very sadly died in a car accident in Australia on 6 November 2019.

Photo: Chung Yu Chiang

Clive trained as a metallurgist but is best known for his work with waders. His early wader studies were in England with the Wash Wader Ringing Group (founded in 1959). Early catches of waders used rocket nets, but soon the group developed the cannon net – their first catch being in 1967. Clive moved to Australia in 1978 where he introduced cannon netting to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and played key roles in the Victorian Wader Studies Group (formed 1978) and the Australasian Wader Studies Groups (formed 1981), as well as the Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union.

In 1980-81 the Australian Wader Studies Group was formed as a special interest group of the then Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (now BirdLife Australia) and Clive was elected as the inaugural Chair. After the late Mark Barter took on the role of Chair, Clive continued to be a key Committee member and contributed valuably for 39 years!

Clive was the key initiator of the North-west Australia Shorebird Expeditions. This field work dramatically increased knowledge of the importance of Roebuck Bay and Eighty Mile Beach as key non-breeding habitat of many species of migratory shorebirds. This work has continued annually or biannually for over 35 years and involved many people for Asia and Europe. It provided inspiration to young shorebird conservationists in Australasia and from across the EAA Flyway.  It has led to the developed the largest morphometric and movement data set for migratory shorebirds in the EAA Flyway. This work also led to the establishment of Broome Bird Observatory and this continues to be a legacy to the passion Clive had for migratory shorebirds.

Clive’s work was recognised by a number of awards, including the BirdLife Australia’s John Hobbs Medal for outstanding contributions to ornithology as an amateur, and the Linnaean Society of New York’s Eiesenmann Medal for ornithological excellence and encouragement of amateur efforts in ornithology. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for ‘services to ornithology, particularly the study of migratory wading birds in Australia’.

Andrew Whittaker, when naming the Cryptic Forest Falcon Micrastur mintoni in Clive’s honour,[1] noted ‘His never-ending enthusiasm for the study of birds and their conservation was contagious and has inspired many’ – something that many of us can relate to.

Thank you Clive.

Clive Minton(Right) checks a firing box with Adrian Riegen prior to catching Far Eastern Curlews, Darwin, 2014. Photo © David Melville

Youtube introduction of flyway by Dr. Clive Minton (credit: Wing Threads)

[1] Whittaker, A. 2002. A new species of forest-falcon (Falconidae: Micrastur) from southeastern Amazonia and the Atlantic rainforesats of Brazil. Wilson Bulletin 114: 421-445.

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