Start of the Spring Migration [RFI from snipe gurus]

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Start of the Spring Migration [RFI from snipe gurus]
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 22:27:36 +1000
I've been thinking about the Latham's snipe I saw near Laidley on Saturday [3rd
August] and come to the conclusion that they must have just come off the flyway.

While I couldn't look them up in HANZAB today, I noticed a record from the Birds
Aust bird observation site that a correspondent had commented about a siting on
12 August 2000.

My question for the wader experts is, what is the earliest "spring" record of a
Latham's Snipe in Australia, and do they fly directly to their austral summer
haunts or in stages down the east coast?  I suspect snipe heading to taswegia
might stage, where the ones that set up shop in SEQ might come here directly.

Are the snipe normally the first of the northern hemisphere migrants to arrive?

I must say that I am highly impressed with their capacity to breed and fledge
their young in Asia in time to get back to Aus just past the depth of "winter" -
alright, we don't get a real winter in SEQ, but this is the best time of year
for snow further south.  

Does this early return mean that the snipe prefer Australia to Asia [you'd think
they would spend longer in their breeding territory than their non-breeding
territory] or could some sort of environmental change be motivating them to rock
up earlier than usual?

Anyhow, for those of you who like to mark the migrations, it's time you were out

Regards, Laurie.

PS, for those of you who are interested in wader behaviour, the snipe was
quietly feeding in the mud at 3.30 pm when I first saw it.

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