birding-aus Re: Knowledge Gaps (Terek Sandpiper)

Subject: birding-aus Re: Knowledge Gaps (Terek Sandpiper)
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:24:57 +1000

Terek Sandpipers, Grey-tailed Tattlers and Whimbrel were (probably still are)
also under represented in wader counts in the Hunter River, NSW.  I did monthly
counts for a number of years by boat and was able to get good counts of these
species only by boat as they often roosted in mangroves in areas otherwise
inaccessible.  At times, they also roosted on rocks or oyster leases where they
were more visible but this never accounted for all birds.

Likewise, in the Hunter, some species were much more common than counts by land
based counters indicated.  Marsh Sandpiper and Greenshank often used roosts away
from the major roosts containing other species.  My counts might amount to 500
of each species while other birders were reporting only 30 or so.  This is fine
as long as those looking at the figures are aware of the differences in how the
counts were obtained.  There is a real danger that, in the future, the figures
are interpreted as a decline in population when in actual fact only a small
proportion of the population was being counted.

The Hunter estuary is a great place for waders, probably all the more so because
there are a couple of sites that are relatively undisturbed.  There should be
more of these.  The major roost site for godwits, curlew and Curlew Sandpipers
is a bit of a nightmare for them because of the high level of disturbance there
by boats.  Unfortunately these species appear to be very conservative in their
choice of roost sites and appeare reluctant to relocate even when an alternative
is provided.

David Geering
(he with webbed feet in a former life)

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