Global Flyway Network: 2016 Bohai Bay Field Report

Jason Loghry, Birds Korea

The Global Flyway Network have published the 2016 Bohai Bay Field Report. The focus of the study is of individually colour-banded birds of four species (Bar and Black-tailed Godwit and Red and Great Knot) from Northwest Australia (Roebuck Bay and 80 Mile Beach). In addition, re-sights of all species observed are recorded and that information is shared, and also assessments of the effects of human-induced habitat change for the site are made in efforts to contribute to and support conservation in the region. After 56 days of continuous field work, 3,554 marked shorebirds from throughout the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) were observed and recorded. 295 of these were recognized as birds from the Global Flyway Network (GFN) colour-banding project in Northwest Australia. This included 261 Red Knots Calidris canutus, 31 Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, highlighting the importance of the site for the birds migrating from Northwest Australia.

“The most noticeable aspect of our whole field season at Luannan Coast 2016 was that many of the piersmai Red Knots from NWA did not arrive.”

Unfortunately, resights from Northwest Australia dropped by 30% in comparison to 2015, mostly due to the Northwest Australia Red Knots (piersmai) not arriving in expected numbers. Red Knot numbers (of both subspecies) peaked at only around 20,000 on May 4 of this year. For comparison, on the same date in 2015, the GFN researchers counted 30,746 Red Knots, which was the biggest count of that season. Late May saw an even more alarming decrease when Red Knot counts dropped by a startling 70%. Late May is when the sub-species composition is dominated by piersmai Red Knots.

So then the question arises, where are these Red Knots?



Chris Hassell of the Global Flyway Network © Jason Loghry / Birds Korea


The report also includes that at least 9,330 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were observed on April 17, using salt ponds. Although this number is below a count recorded on 19 April 2015 (14,040), it still represents 5.8% of the current EAAF population estimate. The salt ponds are the preferred habitat by the species at the site, rather than coastal mudflats. The report explains that these ponds are located in the salt works area of the site and at high tide are host to all of the migrant shorebirds, making them a critical component of the Luannan Coast Shorebird Site and therefore should be considered in conservation initiatives for the area.

Other important counts include the greatest number of Sanderling Calidris alba ever counted at the site on 22 May, with 4,321 as well as the greatest number of Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta ever counted at the site with 951 on April 27, 2016.

To learn more from the Global Flyway Network Bohai Bay Report 2016, please click the link below (And share!):

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