Painted Snipe at Rutherglen

To: <>, <>
Subject: Painted Snipe at Rutherglen
From: "chris" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 23:48:42 +1100
Hi all,


Well, this Painted Snipe story at Rutherglen just keeps getting more and
more interesting.  I've been fortunate enough to visit the swamp twice and
see a maximum of 5 birds (4 juveniles and 1 adult male), and many others I
know have done likewise.  The 5 birds have rarely occurred together as a
group - more often it's the 4 birds that seem to hang-out together.  I was
treated to some exciting news today from a friend that he had seen 6 birds
there yesterday, including an adult female, and now there's 7!!!  This is
extraordinary.  Matt Weeks enquires as to whether there is any information
on the habits of the species.  Unfortunately, very little is known of the
movements and habitat requirements of Painted Snipe - something that Birds
Australia's Threatened Bird Network and Atlas of Australian Birds  is trying
to address through its continuation and promotion of regular searches for
the species.  From the limited data available, we suggest that Painted Snipe
are dispersive/nomadic, leaving wetlands as they dry and occurring elsewhere
as wetlands flood, but we have no knowledge as to whether they 'congregate'
prior to moving on.  Recently, Danny Rogers et al. analysed data collected
over several years of Painted Snipe surveys (combined with BA atlas data),
and classified Painted Snipe habitat selection.  In summary, there were
significant differences between Painted Snipe breeding and non-breeding
habitat - habitat choices of non-breeding birds appeared to be quite broad
but in contrast, breeding birds were specific in choosing shallow temporary
freshwater wetlands with patchy surrounding low cover and complex shorelines
(often with small islands). Breeding was usually observed shortly after
wetlands began to dry out after being flooded.  Interestingly, this appears
to be the case at Rutherglen, where the swamp filled following the late
November 2005 storm, and birds appeared to have then colonised the site and
proceeded to breed (producing at least 4 young).  The swamp is rapidly
drying-out and Matt's comment that additional birds could have descended on
the swamp from  wetlands in the surrounding district could well have merit.
I among many others will continue to read with interest to see if additional
snipe appear.  Keep-up those interesting observations Matt!


By the way, if anyone is interested in receiving a copy of the Rogers et al.
paper, "The Breeding Bottleneck: Breeding Habitat and Population Decline in
the Australian Painted Snipe", or to become involved in future Painted Snipe
surveys, contact Dean Ingwersen, Threatened Bird Network Coordinator, Birds


Happy sniping!


Chris Tzaros

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