Yellow wader watch

Subject: Yellow wader watch
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 08:26:18
By request, I am posting this message to BIRDING-AUS.  It has appeared in
some BA newsletters, but as wide as possible a circulation is needed:


Hey, what?s that yellow bird out on the mudflat?  Is it a Yellow Chat?  Is
it a Canary?  Is it a rubber ducky?  No, it?s a Yellow breasted Stint?

The AWSG?s 1998 North-West Australia Wader Expedition is just beginning,
and it is the biggest ever.  From 1 August to 31 October participants will
be catching waders over the whole spring arrival period of the migratory
waders that breed in northern Asia and Alaska and spend the non-breeding
season in Australia.  The main catch areas will be Roebuck Bay, Eighty Mile
Beach and Port Hedland.

In order to find out more about some wader species that pass through
north-western Australia on their way to southern Australia, it is intended
to mark Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers
with a yellow dye (Picric Acid) on the breast and under the wings.  The dye
is harmless to the birds, will last until the feathers are moulted, and
should be visible for at least 2-4 months.  The markings will become more
orange with age, and the underwing markings should last longer than those
on the breast.

Many marked birds will continue south and south-east, to south-west WA, SA,
Victoria and Tasmania.  Some may turn up in NSW and possibly even
south-eastern Queensland and New Zealand.  Please record and report all
sightings of yellow-marked waders of these three species in Australia
during the spring and summer of 1998-99, in order to find out more about
their movements and their staging sites.

The last time birds were marked in this way on a NW Australia Wader
Expedition was 16 years ago - in 1982.  Then 20 sightings were reported
from SE Australia, at the opposite corner of the continent, within five
weeks.  This time the number of birds marked will be several times higher,
with a consequently high number of sightings expected.

Information needed includes the species, date and location of the sighting.
 It would also be very valuable to record details about the number or
proportion of marked birds in a flock, with an estimate of flock size.  The
yellow-marked underwings are highly visible in flight, and marked birds
stand out in a flying flock.  This additional information will help us
estimate population size, and understand the importance of particular sites
and whether they might qualify for listing as being of national or
international significance.

Marked birds may be seen from August onwards.  Please report all sightings,
with a contact number or address, as soon as possible to Dr Clive Minton at:

165 Dalgetty Road, BEAUMARIS  VIC 3193
Tel/Fax:  (03) 9589 4901
Email: <>

or c/- Broome Bird Observatory at:
PO Box 1313, BROOME  WA 6725
Tel: (08) 9193 5600, Fax: (08) 9192 3364
Email: <>

Who will be the first person to see a yellow-marked wader in southern
Australia this spring?  A quick response will reach the members of the
expedition in the field (actually on the beaches) and let them know how
their efforts are being rewarded.  Please circulate this request and
information to your group members and colleagues ? and anybody else that
might be watching waders.

Hugo Phillipps,
Birds Australia Conservation & Liaison,
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
Tel: (03) 9882 2622. Fax: (03) 9882 2677.
O/s: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
Email: <>
Web Homepage:

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