Migration blogs on WaderTales

wwrg GKHere’s a selection of over forty WaderTales blogs that celebrate the wonder of shorebird migration. The focus is mainly on the East Atlantic Flyway, because that’s where I learnt about waders, but there’s a blog about the shocking drop in the numbers of waders that use the Yellow Sea migration route, an amazing story about a shorebird that links Egypt with the far east of Arctic Russia, some thoughts about teenage waders, focused on Hudsonian Godwits in Chile, and much more. 

Multi-species blogs

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Sociable Lapwing

  • Following Sociable Lapwing describes how geolocators have revealed two distinct migration routes and identified key stopover sites. This is vital information for conservationists, keen to learn more about unsustainable hunting practices that are threatening the viability of this endangered species.

Ringed Plover

  • RP geolocatorWell-travelled Ringed Plovers from Chukotka in north-east Russia spend the winter in Somalia, Egypt, the Red Sea & the Persian Gulf. In Chukotka these Ringed Plovers breed alongside Buff-breasted Sandpipers heading for South America, Knot that will migrate to Australia and Spoon-billed Sandpipers that may migrate to Bangladesh. It’s a small world!

Grey Plover

  • Plovers from the north is a blog about the global migration patterns of Grey Plovers (Black-bellied Plovers), with an Australian focus.


  • Scotland’s Dotterel: still hanging on. The fate of Dotterel that breed on the plateaux in Scotland’s highest mountains may be more closely linked to changes taking place in North Africa than to warming conditions in their nesting areas.

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  • The flock now departing reveals fascinating details about Curlew migration with descriptions of four occasions when two tagged birds ended up in the same migratory flock.
  • A Norfolk Curlew’s summer does not appear to be a migration blog but it is! Join ‘Bowie’ as he flies to Portugal, avoiding forest fires.


  • Whimbrels on the move summarises a paper about the movements of Icelandic, ringed Whimbrel, using ringing and colour-ringing data.
  • Iceland to Africa, non-stop discusses the speed of migration of Icelandic Whimbrel in spring and autumn.
  • Whimbrel: time to leave summarises a paper about the consistencies and variability of annual migration patterns of individual Whimbrel.
  • A Rhapsody of Whimbrel asks whether Whimbrel use time and weather cues in their travel ‘planning’ and might their plans change during the course of their lives?
  • Winter conditions for Whimbrel looks for links between the conditions that individual Whimbrel experience in Africa and the subsequent breeding success in the Iceland.
  • A Whimbrel’s year ties together all of the work in Camilo Carneiro’s PhD. Can Icelandic Whimbrel ‘catch up’ if there is a delay within the annual cycle?
  • Whimbrels arrive in Iceland starts with observations of flocks of tired Whimbrel arriving on the south coast of Iceland, after five days in the air.
  • In search of Steppe Whimbrel summarises a migration paper about two very special individual Whimbrel. Will this knowledge help to rescue a subspecies?

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Bar-tailed Godwit

DSCN1827Black-tailed Godwit

The individual movements and breeding season behaviour of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits have been studied for twenty years. They have been supported by thousands of birdwatchers who report colour-ringed birds.

Hudsonian Godwit

  • Teenage waders is ostensibly about Hudsonian Godwits but raises general questions about the conservation of young shorebirds.
  • Navigating a vast ocean follows Hudsonian Godwits, as they fly north across the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. How do they compensate for wind-drift?

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  • Travel advice for Sanderling summarises research to understand the pros & cons of spending the non-breeding season in widely different locations.

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Semipalmated Sandpiper

  • Gap years for sandpipers discusses the pros and cons of breeding every year. It is a long way from Peru to Alaskan and Canadian breeding grounds. There appears to be a trade off between migrating north in spring, to try to rear youngsters, and taking a gap-year. Staying in Peru increases the probability of survival, thereby securing more breeding attempts in future years.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper

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  • Spoon-billed Sandpipers: Track & Trace is another detective story. Spoon-billed Sandpipers are in big trouble, with an estimated population of just 660 birds, including youngsters. By satellite-tracking a small number of birds, an international research team has been able to identify new stop-over and wintering sites. This information will help to target efforts to protect habitats within key estuaries and to reduce hunting pressure.

Great Snipe

  • Flying high with Great Snipe discusses the differing altitudes of daytime and nocturnal flights, set within broader research into migrations between Sweden and the Congo Basin.

Snipe & Jack Snipe

Common & Spotted Sandpiper

  • Not-so-Common Sandpipers mixes information about migration with a review of Common & Spotted Sandpipers by Phil Holland.

blog2 movementsGreen Sandpiper

  • Green Sandpipers and Geolocators summarises a Ringing & Migration paper about changing behaviour patterns in Green Sandpipers that wore geolocators to study their migratory journeys. See map alongside.

Spotted Redshank

  • Fewer Spotted Redshanks reviews migration patterns and changes in abundance of the species, in a British & Irish context.


  • Migration of Scottish Greenshank may seem tame when compared to the massive journeys made by birds that winter in Australia. Blog based on neat small-scale study.


Here’s a link to the full list of WaderTales blogs. https://wadertales.wordpress.com/about/

The intention is to add one or two new blogs each month. You can sign up to receive an e-mail notification when a new one is published.

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GFA in IcelandGraham (@grahamfappleton) has studied waders for over 40 years and is currently involved in wader research in the UK and in Iceland.  He was Director of Communications at The British Trust for Ornithology until 2013 and is now a freelance writer and broadcaster.

3 thoughts on “Migration blogs on WaderTales

  1. Pingback: Coming soon | wadertales

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