The following was sent to me by Jan Sparrow the co - warden at the Broome
Bird Observatory for onward transmission.
BBO HOSTS BIGGEST AND BEST NORTH WEST WADER AND TERN EXPEDITION
During August, September and October the Broome Bird Observatory was a hive
of activity as researchers from around the globe came to participate in the
AWSG's 16th Wader and Tern Banding Expedition.
In all, 127 people from 17 nations volunteered their services. Many came
from the East-Asian Australasian Flyway. Whilst here, they gained valuable
experience in cannon netting, banding, processing and counting shorebirds.
The hope is that they will put this into practice, on the beaches and mud
flats of their home countries. In turn, this will improve Flyway knowledge
In total 15,016 shorebirds of 37 species were banded and yellow leg flagged.
They were caught on beaches, salt works, sewage ponds and even on Broome
golf course. In addition to this, 786 terns were caught, of 7 species.
Retraps were numerous, with a Whiskered Tern taking the prize for age, 16
years since banding. Notable controls were: Terek Sandpiper - Hong Kong,
Curlew Sandpiper - Hong Kong, 2 Red Knot - Hong Kong ( one of which had been
controlled at Broome before, on the 1994 expedition), Curlew Sandpiper -
Taiwan, Terek Sandpiper - South Korea. There were 21 sightings of orange leg
flags ( 8 Sanderling, 7 Red-necked Stint, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, 1 Great Knot
and 1 Ruddy Turnstone).
An aerial count of Roebuck Bay on the 11th of October turned up 94,825
shorebirds. The first ever complete count of 80 Mile Beach (a bemusing name
as it is 265 kilometres long) on the 17th and 18th of October, showed there
were 465,890 birds using this amazing area. Some mind boggling figures
include: Great Knot 158,080, Bar-tailed Godwit 110,290, Greater Sand Plover
63,482, Oriental Plover 57,619. The remainder consisted of another 28
Besides the banding and counting two additional complimentary research
projects were conducted. Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers aged as 3+ were dyed yellow on the underparts and
underwing. Some of these birds have already been
seen in SE Australia. Keep your eyes peeled in the southwest wetlands also,
and let us know if you see any yellow- dyed birds. Northwest to southwest
Australia is not considered a traditional migration route but you never
Six radio trackers were deployed on 4 Great Knot and on 2 Bar-tailed
Godwits. This confirmed anecdotal evidence on the mobility of birds of the
Roebuck Bay area, particularly in relation to night time high tide roosts.
Birds have been tracked on the northern beaches, at Bush Point, behind the
Crab Creek Mangroves and on Cable Beach. The shorebirds were only on Cable
Beach on night time roosts. Seeing 20,000 birds on a high tide under a full
moon is truly wonderful.
The BBO would like to thank all participants and in particular the legendry
Clive Minton, for their hard work and enthusiasm and for keeping the BBO's
name synonymous with top research.
P O Box 1510
W A 6725