May 25, 2011

Please look out for flagged
shorebirds from Thailand

Over 10,000 waders have been flagged and banded in Thailand by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation during 2007 to the present under a national programme for wild bird surveillance. This has resulted in well over 100 foreign resightings of Thai-flagged waders, most from the coasts of E and NE China, with others from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

cannon-netting shorebirds. © Wicha Narungsri

A handful of Broad-billed Sandpipers. © Pinit Saengkaew

Roughly half of all waders flagged are Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, for which Thailand holds internationally important wintering populations. As yet, we have yet to receive any resightings of either species in any country to the north of Thailand. Since the race(s) of Lesser Sand Plover that winter in Thailand are in the “atrifrons group” (probably mostly C. m. schaeferi), which breeds in Central Asia [along with Greater Sand Plover], this lack of resightings is understandable, especially given the huge land areas and the paucity of observers in that region.

Lesser Sand Plover © Philip Round/The Wetland Trust

© Pinit Saengkaew

© Pinit Saengkaew

We appeal to observers making birding trips in Mongolia, western China, and other Central Asian countries in the summer months to look carefully at any waders they see in order to search for birds bearing coloured leg-flags. Besides sand plovers there are other shorebirds bearing Thai flags that migrate overland and/or breed in Central Asia (e.g. Common Redshank) that should be looked out for.

leg-flagged Common Redshank, Pak Thale, Thailand. © Christopher Taylor

Department of National Parks ringing team. © Pinit Saengkaew

Thailand uses a black flag placed above a green flag. It is important to record both the shape of the flag (oblong or triangular), and whether the flags are on the right or left leg. (The flags may be both on the tibia, or with the black flag on the tibia and the green flag on the tarsus–precise position of the flags on the leg is not relevant to the resighting).

We should be most grateful for any reports of flagged waders. Resightings of flagged birds may be reported via the Australasian Wader Study Group web-page using the form provided: click here or direct to Ms. Duangrat Phothieng, Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plants Conservation, Bangkok, Thailand: pothieng at hotmail dot com

May 1, 2011

Birding the Gobi, late April

Brian Watmough

It’s the second half of April and the numbers of migrant birds are increasing by the day. I was in Dalanzadgad (DZ) the capital of Umnogobi aimag (South Gobi Province) for a conference but managed to spend a few hours birding with Tumendelger (Tume), local birder and photographer. The trees in the centre of town regularly attract migrants but on early morning visits on 21, 22 and 23 April I only saw Daurian Redstart (2), Black-throated Thrush (4), Brambling (1) and Common Chaffinch (2). On 22nd Tume drove us to DZ Pond, a small lake and marsh at southern edge of town. There were 5 Common Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck and a single female Common Goldeneye on the water, Little Ringed Plover feeding on the shore with flocks of Water Pipit, a Desert Wheatear was singing and two White Wagtails flew overhead. From there we drove to the tree nursery on the south of town where we saw 3 male Daurian Redstart and a Siberian Accentor.

Common Shelduck Gobi, Mongolia, April 2011 © Tumendelger 

The rest of the morning was in meetings but in the afternoon we drove to small salty lakes some 30 km to the east of DZ. Here there was a good variety of waterfowl including 2 Falcated Duck and 3 Whooper Swans. When we returned to DZ around dusk a flock of 14 Black Kites was circling overhead looking for a safe roosting place, and were joined by flock of 40 Daurian Jackdaws and 6 Amur Falcons.

Lake in the Gobi, April 2011 © B. Watmough

Lake in the Gobi, April 2011 © B. Watmough

Species list
Whooper Swan (3), Common Shelduck (25), Ruddy Shelduck (10), Gadwall (5), Falcated Duck (2), Eurasian Wigeon (55), Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail (10), Common Pochard (30), Tufted Duck (15), Common Goldeneye (10), Grey Heron (3), Great Cormorant (2), Black Kite (20), Hen (Northern) Harrier (1 ringtail), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (1), Northern Goshawk (1), Amur Falcon (6), Eurasian Coot (1), Pied Avocet (18), Northern Lapwing (3), Little Ringed Plover (20), Kentish Plover (4), Green Sandpiper (2), Mongolian Gull (2), Asian Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark (1 by ger), Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Black-throated Thrush (12), Daurian Redstart (6), Northern Wheatear (1), Desert Wheatear (3), Siberian Accentor (1), White Wagtail (2), Water Pipit (30), Brambling (1), Common Chaffinch (2), Mongolian Finch (15).

PS Tume took this picture earlier this month on steppe 70km north of DZ

McQueen's Bustard, Gobi, Mongolia, April 2011 © Tumendelger