- Which wader, when and why? summarises the annual migration patterns of over 40 species of wader that visit Britain and Ireland.
- Sixty years of Wash waders celebrates the longest-running wader-ringing project in the UK (and the world?), by summarising six decades of migration research.
- Are there costs to wearing a geolocator? considers the use of geolocators in studies of migration and the costs for small birds like Semipalmated Sandpipers.
- Wader declines in the shrinking Yellow Sea discusses the link between the amount of reliance on the Yellow Sea and population declines, across migrant wader species.
- Tagus estuary: for birds or planes? Although the focus is on Black-tailed Godwits, this blog is relevant to anyone who cares about estuaries that provide fuel for waders on migration.
- How many shorebirds use the East Asian-Australasian Flyway? summarises a stock-take of waders that link Russia & Alaska with Australia & New Zealand.
- Migratory decisions for Icelandic Oystercatchers explains how a new project is examining the costs and benefits of being a migrant.
- Which Icelandic Oystercatchers cross the Atlantic? Big ones – small ones – which gender – depends where you live? Do resident birds pair up?
- Oystercatcher migration: the Dad Effect is a fascinating story. It shows that the migratory behaviour of Iceland’s Oystercatcher chicks is aligned with the behaviour of their fathers, not their mothers.
- 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.
- Well-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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Bar-tailed Godwits: migration & survival compares the efficacy of using rings and lettered flags to answer migration and conservation questions.
- New Bar-tailed Godwit Subspecies explains why taymyrensis should be considered as two separate populations, with important message for Bar-tailed Godwit conservation.
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.
- Why is spring migration getting earlier? discusses the pioneering role of new recruits to the Black-tailed Godwit population.
- Overtaking on Migration explains how Portuguese birds manage to overtake Black-tailed Godwits that winter further north, as they race to get back to Iceland early.
- Waiting for the wind – spring flocks of Black-tailed Godwit in Scotland reveals how dependent migrating godwit flocks are on weather patterns.
- Should Black-tailed Godwits cross the Sahara? investigates the trade-offs for limosa Black-tailed Godwits that winter in Iberia, instead of crossing the Sahara.
- Generational Change uses colour-ring sightings to explore how Black-tailed Godwit populations have changed in distribution and migratory timing.
- Black-tailed Godwits are on their way home reveals importance of Tagus Estuary (Portugal) to England’s breeding limosa Black-tailed Godwits.
- 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?
- Red Knot pay the price for being fussy eaters compares the fortunes of Knot and Turnstone that stop off in Delaware Bay. As they fatten up to travel to the Arctic, the inflexibility of Red Knot make them more prone to unpredictable food supplies (and climate change).
- Subspecies, connectivity and conservation in shorebirds focuses on Red Knot that spend the non-breeding series in Chile, asking whether the concept of a subspecies may distract from local conservation priorities.
- Travel advice for Sanderling summarises research to understand the pros & cons of spending the non-breeding season in widely different locations.
- Dunlin: tales from the Baltic focuses upon declines of a disappearing population of schinzii Dunlin but set in a global context.
- 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 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.
- 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
- Snipe & Jack Snipe in the UK and Ireland compares the migratory strategies of the two species and laments the decline of Common Snipe, as a breeding species.
Common & Spotted Sandpiper
- Not-so-Common Sandpipers mixes information about migration with a review of Common & Spotted Sandpipers by Phil Holland.
- 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.
- 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.
Graham (@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.