Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Wild Bird Wednesday 77 - Summer Migrants

Hello and welcome to 2014! Hopefully, WBW will continue to roll on during this year, so lets get on with it.

When I lived in the UK I used to think about waders that "wintered" in the southern hemisphere - and it never occurred to me that they would be in that part of the world during the summer!  I suppose it's a kind of "northern imperialism" of the mind!

A much better way to think about this is "breeding" and "non-breeding" periods.  So, many waders spend their non-breeding periods in Australia and there breeding periods in the far north - Siberia and such like.

In the days between Christmas and New Year I normally help out with a group that traps these waders as part of a long tern breeding success study.  Basically its about catching a representative sample of a number of species so that we can look at the number of juvenile birds.  This study takes place at a large sewage works to the West of Melbourne called Werribee - although in the age of spin its now called The Western Treatment Plant!

This picture gives you an idea of the number of birds that can gather in small areas.



We trap the birds with cannon deployed nets - these fly out over flocks of roosting birds, which are then rapidly extracted and placed in dark keeping cages.  Then its all hands on deck to process the birds.

These images show the net deploying - to get a better idea of whats going on here, the net is coming towards the viewer.




This net trapped about 500 birds - about 300 Red-necked Stints and 100 each of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Curlew-Sandpiers.  This classifies its as  good catch!

The birds get the classic metal band (or ring) as well as an plastic orange leg "flag". The flag means the birds from this part of the world can be identifed just by the presence of the flag - and OLF (orange leg flag) means it's one of our birds.

I don't always get much time for photography - but during a tea break I got some pictures of some the birds in the hand.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (note OLF)
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper

 Not only are these birds wild - some of them were livid!!

Now its over to you to link up!  If you are here on New Years Day, I assume you know what to do! (But click on the link and follow the instructions if you don't!)




54 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

long live your counted/tagged birds. :) happy new year, stewart, and thanks for hosting WBW.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

A Happy New Year to you and Happy Birding!

EG CameraGirl said...

This is such important work and I'm impressed that you are part of it. I wish you and your family all the best in 2014!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Wow...those panoramic views of the hundreds or birds is astounding!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR & thanks for being such a gracious host Stewart.

Dave said...

two lovely species, wonderful to see them close up. Happy 2014 Stewart

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Cool shots of the sandpipers up close. It's not often you get to see the details like that.

It's weird to see your blog have the 1/11/14 date already posted. It's Tuesday morning 12/31 here as I write this. Have a great holiday!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Wow, that is a lot of birds gathering there! Love the photos of the sandpipers!
Happy New Year to you and your family, Stewart!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That would be a fun thing to do, for me, not the birds.

Andrew Fulton said...

Happy New Year Stewart...
another wonderful post.

Findlay Wilde said...

I really hope to get up close to some waders in 2014. I hope you have a brilliant 2014. From Findlay

Sharon Wagner said...

It is already the New Year in your neck of the woods. Happy birding and a Happy New Year to you!

P.S. I have a new nickname for my cat Akua. Kookaburra. Because one of his other nicknames is coo coo. My husband thought I was just making up a fictional name. But I googled it and it is a bird. And I bet I learned about it on your blog!

Andrea said...

Amazing shots, Stewart and good on you for doing your part for our wild birds. I'm glad you found time to get some close ups ... those are priceless. And the birds livid? ... I am guessing terrified. But it is all good in the end, right?

Thank you for a wonderful year of learning and sharing. I love that you have kept WBW going and I oten enjoy your other posts as well. Isn't blogging a hoot? Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family. I am looking forward to another ... or maybe more than another, year with you.

Andrea @ From The Sol

stiefbeen said...

Een mooie log met prachtige momenten.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

oh lovely shorebirds, so many of them. Glad you get time for tea. I wonder if some of them can make it here for a while. Happy New Year.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Excellent photos of the netting and also the closeups. In truth, most of our migratory breeding birds spend more time on their wintering grounds than at "home." In the Northern Hemisphere, over the past 11-14,000 years, most followed the receding glaciers north to breed, only to return to ancestral breeding habitats during the winters. As the warm seasons become longer with each passing year the trend might reverse some day in the distant future, and they will no longer be short-term breeding "visitors" in the Northern Hemisphere.

mick said...

Great photos and a fantastic look at exactly how those nets are fired. Great to see those birds in the hand and to be able to get such close views of them. Thanks for hosting WBW and I wish you a good year ahead.

Phil Slade said...

Great to see those birds in the hand Stewart. Hundreds of red-necks, sharpies and curlew sands - the mind boggles. Sun as well, can't be bad.

DIMI said...

Great photos Stewart!!!Happy new year!!
Dimi...

Karen said...

That's a lot of birds! Terrific shots of birds in hands. Happy New Year to you and your family Stewart, and thanks for hosting WBW!

bettyl-NZ said...

I have to agree about the northern state of mind! What a great and worthwhile way to spend the day. I love coastal birds.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Stewart. Mny thanks for hosting WBW every week. great work with these birds you Nd undertaking. great to see the netting, it would have been great to see it on video also. Happy NEw Year and may 2014 see you finding more 'lifers'.

Gordon said...

Really interesting post Stewart, always nice to see waders up close.
Happy New Year, Gordon.

DesertHen said...

What a fascinating post! Loved reading about how the capture is done and seeing the photos of the birds!

Happy New Year to you too! It's still 2013 here in the states. Have a few hours left yet before we ring in the New Year!

Nette Cecilia said...

A happy new year to you ,here is no birds now ,nette

Montanagirl said...

Happy New Year, Stewart. Always enjoy visiting your blog and your photography.

Rebecca said...

Interesting post!
Thanks for hosting - Happy New Year!

Carole M. said...

a worthy project Stewart and I've read about the famous Werribee for birding. That was quite a catch and I can quite understand that those beautiful waders would be livid. They're not to know it's all for a good cause...it must be so exciting to trace the origins from those flags

eileeninmd said...

Happy New year to you and your family, Stewart. Love the closeups of the cute Sandpiper. It is cool to see the large flocks of birds, great captures. Thanks for hosting WBW, you are great!

Neil said...

Great series good to see the in hand shots.Hope you have a great time in 2014.

Mama Zen said...

These are amazing, Stewart! Happy New Year!

Arija said...

Lo wonder they are livid, how would you like it to be handled like that?
Now that first shot definitely is not you, you never get to spend much time next to the kitchen.

Have a great Year Stewart!

Arija said...

Are you touchy about your girth?? I quite clearly wait it could NOT be you, chuckle, chuckle.

Gemma Wiseman said...

It must be a grand experience being so close to wild birds like this. Wonderful scenes and macros.

Gordon said...

Happy New Year Stewart, everything in the Lakes is fine apart from the weather, we could do with some of that Ausi sun.
All the best Gordon.

Jane of Levant said...

Hello Stewart - Happy New Year from the UK - how amazing to see those Sandpipers so close - and what great pictures - I watched a ringing programme a short while ago out on the mere at Ellesmere in Shropshire - they were ringing ducks - fascinating - Jane UK

Pallavi said...

Happy new year Stewart and nice of you to help out in the study :)

Lea said...

What a fantastic experience! Great photos!
Once we watched wildlife specialists catch and band Hummingbirds near where we live.
Happy New Year!
Lea

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

Lovely pictures of bird swarms, netting & ringing them.Happy New Year.

Nick Va said...

Happy New Year, Stewart.
Great to see conservation work being done.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Your banner image and your entries for this day are all quite wonderful. So nice that you have this opportunity to be so close to these beauties. Happy New Year Stewart~

Jo said...

LOL, those birds probably were livid at being caught! I loved seeing these sandpipers up close - so similar to ours here in Africa. Happy New year to you. Regards Jo

babsjeheron said...

That's a fascinating study, thanks for sharing all of the photos. Happy New Year to you and everyone at WBW!

HansHB said...

Awesome serie!
Happy New Year to you!

Gail Dixon said...

I would love to be involved in a banding program. Congrats on a successful year of birding. Wishing you a very prosperous and healthy year ahead!!

Larry said...

Happy New Year Stewart! Thank you again for hosting Wild Bird Wednesday, I know how much time this must take. Your bird conservation science efforts are also much appreciated! It must be super hectic during those net clearings.

Your photos are awesome as always. Love those close ups of the birds in hand. Thanks for all you do!

NatureFootstep said...

I never seen that kind of net before. It was an interesting psot. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Small City Scenes said...

How neat that you help out with the birds. Very pretty waders they are.
We have numerous birds that winter over in our Valley. Geese, Swans and many raptors including Eagles and so interesting to watch.
MB

edenhills said...

Great captures. Hope they are all doing well and return for many years to come!

Janice Adcock said...

Always enjoy visiting your blog. Such beautiful and interesting pictures. Wishing you the best in 2014.

Phyllis Oller said...

How interesting! I did know know how you did that,this is what is fun about visiting your blog & others,I always learn so much.Thank-you for hosting & sharing,happy new year to you & your family!Phyllis

Adam Tilt said...

A great insight Stewart into an area of bird research which has always intrigued me. Happy new year.

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Great photos! I especially like the close ups with them in hand. Happy (belated) New Year!

pattisjarrett said...

Looking forward to another year of Wild Bird Wednesday, thanks for making this possible, Stewart. Glad you got a shot of the net/capture, I wondered how that was done. The birds don't seem to be minding all the attention.

Pat Tillett said...

Good on you for volunteering!
Nice photos of the process also.