Start of the Spring Migration [RFI from snipe gurus]

Subject: Start of the Spring Migration [RFI from snipe gurus]
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 20:57:41 +0800
At 22:27 05/08/2002 +1000, Laurie&Leanne Knight wrote:
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?

Just a thought, but ...

Many first year waders (e.g. Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, knots, godwits, etc) don't return to breed until their second (or later) year. For some waders the whole population seems to return (e.g. Oriental Plover, Long-toed Stint, etc). However, the question is - Do the first year birds breed when they return the first time? Or do they wait until they are two or even three?

If the young birds do not breed, then could the non breeding snipe possibly return earlier than the breeding population?

Frank O'Connor     Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694                Email : 

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