Spoon-billed Sandpiper news brief Summer 2015

Christoph Zöckler,
EAAFP Spoon-billed Sandpiper (SBS) Task Force Coordinator

In the spring ‘SBS in China’ and British birdwatchers under the lead of Jing Li and Guy Anderson (RSPB) were surveying the Rudong and Dongtai coast in China for homeward migrating Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The team surveying between 3 and 12 May found a minimum of 62 SBS across the three main study sites (Tiaozini, Yangkou-Fengli and Dong Lin). This compares with 45 last spring, so good news. They confirmed at least six individually marked birds, including Lime 8, Lime 09, Lime 16, Lime 22, and a North Chukotka bird (plain light blue flag plus colour rings), and at least one head-started bird from 2013 or 2014, but sadly the code could not be read. No deliberate trapping was observed on the intertidal mudflats, and no dead birds were found on the mudflats, but one case of deliberate poisoning of landbirds near Yangkou was reported, and this is too close for comfort to possible SBS roost areas, so this is still an issue.

08 is from the first head-starting in 2012 returning for the second year breeding successfully in Chukotka © Egor Loktionov (June 2015)

‘8’ is from the first head-started batch in 2012 returned to Chukotka for the second year and successfully bred © Egor Loktionov (June 2015)

In Chukotka the Russian team under the lead of Nikolay Yakushev from Birds Russia supported by Roland Digby from WWT reported a total of 18 marked birds returning to the breeding grounds. Among them were five head-started birds!! In total 13 pairs were found in the core breeding area, which is an increase of two pairs compared with previous years. This is very positive news and a success to which many of our members along the EAAF have contributed. Many of the birds below have come across and passed your sites and you also might find it exciting to see those now breeding in Chukotka. But also a large number of birds have eluded our attention on the flyway. Some birds like 07 was even hiding from us last year on the breeding grounds but has been seen breeding this year! It just shows how elusive some birds are and that there is a lot of hope for the species! Sadly, no breeding in captivity this year, although it came very close.

On 16 July, Zhang Lin from ‘SBS in China’ saw already six SBS in Tiaozini Sandbanks at the Dongtai coast in Jiangsu China. These could be failed breeders returning first to Rudong or potentially some birds spending their first summer in these areas?

On 19 July, Tom Noah of the German support group discovered two birds among 25,000 waders on the West coast of Kamchatka.

More details and news on all these and other stories will be in the next SBS News Bulletin No. 14 in August 2015.



To find more, please visit EAAFP SBS Task Force page.


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