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The Woodcock and Snipe Specialist Group has just released its Newsletter n°43. The issue of this newsletter Compiled and edited by David Gonçalves (CIBIO/InBIO, University of Porto) were full of information. It contains among others a compilation of the last migration & ringing reports of local Woodcock & Snipe groups and a current list of recent Woodcock and Snipe publications. Very informative!,  I'll leave you to discover those on your own:    
Woodcock and Snipe Specialist Group | Newsletter 2017 n°43

The Woodcock and Snipe Specialist Group has just released its Newsletter n°43. The issue of this newsletter Compiled and edited by David Gonçalves (CIBIO/InBIO, University of Porto) were full of information. It contains among others a compilation of the last migration & ringing reports of local Woodcock & Snipe groups and a current list of recent Woodcock and Snipe publications. Very informative!,  I'll leave you to discover those on your own:    

The Wader Study Group joined BirdLife International to support the celebration of the World Curlew Day the 21st April! By Mary Colwell. "This time last year a ground-breaking assessment of the threats facing the Numeniini group was published that collated the views of over 100 wader experts from around the world made shocking reading. . It concluded that the main threat internationally is the loss and destruction of coastal estuaries and wetlands, which are under increasing pressure from development and disturbance, particularly in Asia. The Numeniini group are 13 wader species including upland sandpiper, four godwit and eight curlew species. It is shocking that over half of these species are of global conservation concern which makes this family one of the most threatened in the world. April 21 was chosen to be World Curlew Day because of a delightful, traditional Welsh tale that identifies the first curlew conservationist. St Beuno, was a 6th century abbot from Wales. Legend has it he was sailing off the coast when he dropped his prayer book in the sea. A curlew flew over and rescued it and took it to the shore to dry. The grateful St Beuno decreed that from then on, the bird be given special protection and that its nest must be difficult to find; which is indeed the case.
We hope that conservation organisations, government agencies, land-managers and nature enthusiasts from around the world will come together to support this remarkable but very threatened group of species. Whether it is publishing a press release, giving a talk, holding a curlew cake and coffee morning and/or going for a curlew walk.
We want to know what you will be doing for curlew on the 21st; so please share your stories and pictures on social media using the hashtag #WorldCurlewDay2018 Sadly, Eskimo curlew, a former widespread and abundant species in the Americas is probably already extinct while there has been no sighting of the Slender-billed Curlew for over 20 years.
The world has likely lost two species in the last century!
We need to do all that we can to ensure that we don’t lose anymore!"   World Curlew Day Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/WCDApril21/   Featured image: Curlew Numenius arquata, 13 December 2010, ©Ken Billington  
World Curlew Day – 21st April

The Wader Study Group joined BirdLife International to support the celebration of the World Curlew Day the 21st April! By Mary Colwell. "This time last year a ground-breaking assessment of the threats facing the Numeniini group was published that collated the views of over 100 wader experts from around the world made shocking reading. . It concluded that the main threat internationally is the loss and destruction of coastal estuaries and wetlands, which are under increasing pressure from

The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network WHSRN reports results of the last aerial surveys in Tierra del Fuego. This winter a very low numbers of Calidris canutus rufa were recorded with only 9,840 ind when 13,127 ind. were recorded in January 2017. This is the second lowest record since the surveys began (after 2011 with 9,850 birds). Poor feeding condition in Delaware Bay recorded in May 2017 resulted in lower survival would be involved. Low water temperatures have delayed the ashore coming of Horseshoe Crabs to lay their eggs. Read more about results of the 2018 annual aerial survey on the WHSR website: https://www.whsrn.org/red-knot-low [caption id="attachment_10595" align="aligncenter" width="330"] The survey crew for Bahía Lomas flight. Left to right: Capt. Francisco Esquivel, Dr. Guy Morrison, Sra. Jocelyn Velasquez, Sr. Antonio Larrea. ©Guy Morrison for the WHSRN[/caption]     Featured image : Red knot rufa ©Breese Greg, USFWS    
Red Knot rufa wintering population crashes to a new low

The Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network WHSRN reports results of the last aerial surveys in Tierra del Fuego. This winter a very low numbers of Calidris canutus rufa were recorded with only 9,840 ind when 13,127 ind. were recorded in January 2017. This is the second lowest record since the surveys began (after 2011 with 9,850 birds). Poor feeding condition in Delaware Bay recorded in May 2017 resulted in lower survival would be involved. Low water temperatures have delayed the ashore

The British Ornithologists' Union is holding an open one-day meeting on the registration day, 20 August, of IOC2018, in Vancouver, Canada. Grasslands are found right across the planet, from tropical savannahs to alpine meadows, from coastline to mountain peak, forming key habitats for a wide range of species. Many of these habitats are under considerable threat from anthropogenic changes including land use change, urbanisation and climate change, which can impact on these important ecosystems and the birds which rely on them. The day has been planned specially to provide the large numbers of delegates arriving to register for IOC2018 on the Monday, with a series of presentations they can pop in and out of during this free open day. Read more about it on the original post on BOU website: Featured Image: Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Bolivia. ©Asociacion Armonia, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters.
“Ecology and conservation of the world’s grassland birds” | One-day meeting at IOC2018, in Vancouver, Canada

The British Ornithologists' Union is holding an open one-day meeting on the registration day, 20 August, of IOC2018, in Vancouver, Canada. Grasslands are found right across the planet, from tropical savannahs to alpine meadows, from coastline to mountain peak, forming key habitats for a wide range of species. Many of these habitats are under considerable threat from anthropogenic changes including land use change, urbanisation and climate change, which can impact on these important ecosystems

National Geographic magazine is publishing a series of bird-related feature articles in 2018, in honor of 'The Year of the Bird'. One in the March issue entitled "The Epic Journeys of Migratory Birds" is about bird migration and focuses on Bar-tailed Godwits, and features Jan van Gils, the Alaska USGS people, Jesse Conklin, and several other migration scientists that you will know! visit theThe Epic Journeys of Migratory Birds page on the National Geographic website:   Featured image: Bar-tailed godwits in the mud at the Heathcote and Avon Estuary in Christchurch, New Zealand. ©Jonathan Harrod, Minden Pictures for the National Geographic.
Bar-tailed Godwits in the March issue of the National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic magazine is publishing a series of bird-related feature articles in 2018, in honor of 'The Year of the Bird'. One in the March issue entitled "The Epic Journeys of Migratory Birds" is about bird migration and focuses on Bar-tailed Godwits, and features Jan van Gils, the Alaska USGS people, Jesse Conklin, and several other migration scientists that you will know! visit theThe Epic Journeys of Migratory Birds page on the National Geographic website:   Featured image:

If you’re lucky, when you are expecting a baby, you have access to pre-and post-natal care. In humans, this refers to physician or midwifery support before and after birth, but also to having the space and time to eat and rest well. Migratory shorebirds also need safe places to eat and rest pre- and post-breeding. In this issue of Wader Study, two articles describe stopover sites that provide this space en route to and away from breeding grounds. These articles also show what studying birds as they pass through these sites can tell us about other parts of the annual cycle, including breeding. Let’s begin with the post-breeding period. In both humans and birds, this is the time that seems to get the least attention. Many new parents find themselves on their own with their new baby in the days after birth, and similarly not much is known about the stopover sites birds use post-breeding. I was lucky to have had a child in the Netherlands where they have a wonderful thing called kramzorg1. For a week after I gave birth, a kraamverzorgster came to my home and helped with everything from teaching me to breastfeed to washing the dishes and making peanut butter sandwiches (which was all I wanted). It was revolutionary for me to discover this kind of care (and the need for it) around a topic I thought I knew well – having a baby. In much the same way Lyons and colleagues write about a well-studied species, but shine light on a period of the annual cycle that hasn’t been well studied – post-breeding stopover. They report on a mark-recapture/resight approach to study migration and stopover ecology in the Red Knot, Calidris canutus rufa, at Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve in eastern Canada2. [caption id="attachment_10541" align="alignnone" width="960"] The post-breeding stopover site at Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve, Quebec, Canada. Photo: Yves Aubry. Inset: A rufa Red Knot in non-breeding plumage. Photo: Patricia González.[/caption] The researchers’ first task was to collect the mark-resight data. They conducted surveys on four limestone islands (Niapiskau, Quarry, Grand-Île, and Nue de Mingan) at the western end of the Mingan Archipelago Reserve between 11 July and 3 September 2008. Between 9:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon they looked for knots, counted their numbers, and noted the proportion with uniquely engraved leg flags (marked birds). They detected five-hundred thirty-five (535) adults with leg flags. Most of these birds had received their flags as part of prior work at other locations along the flyway in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina or Chile. Blood samples had been taken when the birds were captured and marked. These samples were used in molecular techniques to determine the sex of the birds. Then the 535 observations were converted into encounter histories, one for each bird, and analyzed mathematically using a Jolly-Seber (JS) model. The study had four goals: (1) use mathematical models and mark-resight data to describe when the birds arrive, how long they stay, and when they depart; (2) use data on when males, females and young arrive to infer how well the past breeding season went; (3) estimate how many birds use the sight, taking into account that birds pass through and that not all birds will be counted; (4) formalize the method for using quantitative mark-resight data to understand migration and stopover ecology in migratory birds. Using their field observations and the mathematical model, the authors estimated approximately 9,500 birds (8,355–10,710) used the stopover site at the Mingan Archipelago in 2008. The birds stayed on average about 11 days with a minimum-length-of-stay (MINLOS) about half that. The 535 marked birds seen during the field season represented approximately 64% of the total number of marked birds, or how many would have been seen if every marked bird could have been seen. Mathematically, the model that best explained the data with the fewest variables (the most parsimonious model) assumed that this resighting probability stayed constant. On the other hand, the probability of birds arriving, and how long they stayed, was not constant. Adult birds arrived in Mingan in two distinct waves. The first group arrived in mid-July and were mainly females who had likely nested successfully, and males and females whose nests failed. The second group arrived from August 8th to 11th and were mainly juvenile birds and males that nested successfully (and thus stayed longer to care for young). Though seemingly a simple description of timing, the authors point out that these results are important because the timing and type of birds arriving in Mingan tell us something about the success of the prior breeding season. In 2008, a large fraction of the stopover population arrived late in the season and most were juveniles and males. This suggests successful breeding. Being able to infer something about the breeding season from 1700 km away, makes the modelling described in this article a powerful tool, especially for species whose breeding sites are not easily accessible and whose nests are not easy to find. Sticking with Red Knots, but switching to subspecies C. c. roselaari, Buchanan and colleagues report on between-year variation in stopover timing at Grays Harbor, Washington, USA3. Here the focus is on spring migration and the pre-breeding period. In knots, more is known about pre- than post-breeding stopover sites (the famous Delaware Bay for C. c. rufa comes to mind); however, less is known about stopover sites for C. c. roselaari, whose flyway spans the Pacific side of North America4. Therefore, the authors took the opportunity to synthesize data in two previous surveys of Grays Harbor, conducted in 2009 and 2010, with data collected more recently in 2016. [caption id="attachment_10542" align="alignnone" width="960"] The post-breeding stopover site at Grays Harbor, Washington, USA. Photo: Joseph Buchanan. Inset: A roselaari Red Knot in breeding plumage. Photo: Tom Rowley.[/caption] Grays Harbor is a large estuary on the Pacific coast that is dominated by extensive flats at the confluence of seven rivers. Knots use areas in these mudflats that are too far from shore to be visible, particularly in the second half of the migration period, so researchers have to get creative to see the flocks. In this case they used airboats. From these boats, they estimated knot numbers by scanning the flocks and counting in increments of 20, 50 or 100 birds (depending on the size of the flock). The researchers found that knots passed through the area later in 2016 than in 2009 and 2010. Though the study was not designed to determine the cause of this variation in timing, the authors suspect that the later passage in 2016 was influenced by conditions in Mexico because knots appear to fly directly from wintering areas in Mexico to coastal Washington during spring4. The authors mention possible causes including variation in numbers of predators, such as Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus, or differences in the timing of food resources in Mexico. Whether human or bird, having a safe and resource-rich place to rest and eat is important for reproduction in both the pre- and post-natal periods. Both of these papers remind us of the importance of stopover sites used by migratory shorebirds en route to and from breeding areas, and both papers remind us that these sites can provide a treasure trove of information, even on a well-studied species.
  1. For those unfamiliar with the Dutch and Belgian kraamzorg system see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraamzorg and also https://www.babble.com/parenting/the-incredible-post-birth-service-all-dutch-women-receive/
  2. Lyons, J. E., A. J. Baker, P. M. González, Y. Aubry, C. Buidin & Y. Rochepault. 2017. Migration ecology and stopover population size of Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa) at Mingan Archipelago after exiting the breeding grounds. Wader Study 124(3): 197-205.
  3. Buchanan, J. B., L. J. Salzer & V. Loverti. 2017. Between-year variation in the timing of peak passage of spring migrant Red Knots at Grays Harbor, Washington, USA Wader Study 124(3): 238-240.
  4. Carmona, R., N. Arce, V. Ayala, A. Hernández-Alvarez, J.B. Buchanan, L.J. Salzer, P.S. Tomkovich, J.A. Johnson, R.E. Gill, Jr., B. McCaffery & J. Lyons. 2013. Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) migration connectivity, abundance and nonbreeding distribution along the Pacific coast of the Americas. Wader Study Group Bulletin 120: 168-180.
PDF is available here.
Spotlight: Stopovers as “pre- and post-natal support” for migrants

If you’re lucky, when you are expecting a baby, you have access to pre-and post-natal care. In humans, this refers to physician or midwifery support before and after birth, but also to having the space and time to eat and rest well. Migratory shorebirds also need safe places to eat and rest pre- and post-breeding. In this issue of Wader Study, two articles describe stopover sites that provide this space en route to and away from breeding grounds. These articles also show what studying birds as

IWSG Small Projects Grants

Since 2016, the International Wader Study Group have annually been funding small projects through the newly established IWSG Small Projects Grants. The aim is to support shorebird studies that otherwise will not go ahead. This could be all sorts of projects related to waders (shorebirds): ecological and/or conservation research, pilot studies looking at biological aspects of a single or a few species, or counts of staging birds at unexplored sites. Or something completely different! Application is open for IWSG members who have a project idea that could be undertaken if supported with a small amount of money (currently 1000 pounds sterling per project). In the below link you can find a description of criteria and the application form. The IWSG Executive Committee has appointed an evaluation committee that will judge the applications, and decide which project will be awarded. Hurry up!, applications should be submitted by December 1th of each year, and a decision will be made before 1st of May. Application form IWSG Small Project Grants Call. [caption id="attachment_8912" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Last year, the 2016 IWSG Small Project Grants was attributed to Glenda D. Hevia to support his reaserach about the impact of human activities on Two-Banded Plovers (Charadrius falklandicus) breeding at beaches in Northern Patagonia, Argentina. You can follow the study at this ResearchGate Project page!: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Effects-of-human-activities-on-the-Two-banded-Plover-Charadrius-falklandicus-breeding-population-in-northern-Chubut-Patagonia-Argentina Photo: ©Darío Podestá.[/caption]
Only two days left to apply for the 2017 IWSG Small Projects Grants!

IWSG Small Projects Grants Since 2016, the International Wader Study Group have annually been funding small projects through the newly established IWSG Small Projects Grants. The aim is to support shorebird studies that otherwise will not go ahead. This could be all sorts of projects related to waders (shorebirds): ecological and/or conservation research, pilot studies looking at biological aspects of a single or a few species, or counts of staging birds at unexplored sites. Or something

The “Marais Breton” (46.987867, -1.960771) is one of the last strongholds for breeding Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa  in France. The area supports up to 60% of the French population (~150-170 pairs). Whilst the importance of other sites in France continues to decrease, the population in the Marais Breton remains stable and even increasing mainly due to conservation action by The Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux LPO Vendée (local delegation of the Birdlife partner in France). [caption id="attachment_10401" align="aligncenter" width="330"] The Marais Breton on the French Atlantic coast is the last bastion of breeding Black-tailed godwit in France. Picture: © Philippe Briffaud.[/caption] For several years now, LPO Vendée has been working with young livestock farmers to improve farming practices - extensive, organic, pesticide-free farming - that provide environmental benefits, especially on wetlands. These wildlife-friendly farmers (“Paysans de nature”), for whom protecting biodiversity is equally important as producing better agricultural products, consider the space left for wildlife on their farms. For instance, several of the farmers deliberately flooded meadows in spring to make land suitable for the settlement and breeding success of waders and waterfowl (including Black-winged Stilt, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Ruff, Common Snipe, Northern Lapwing, Northern Shoveler, Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon, Teal and Garganey). In addition to land management, LPO Vendée also acts in an advisory role to provide assistance and support to these farmers for better integration of biodiversity and farming. The project has been successful to date, with farmers also involved in biological monitoring, as well as public outreach activities. They have therefore become real ambassadors of nature conservation and volunteer wardens of a new kind of nature reserve. In this context, along with 2 other organizations from the “Marais Breton” and 3 young farmers, LPO Vendée is purchasing 200 acres of flood meadows close to the current breeding area of the population of Black-tailed Godwit. This vital work has the potential to extend the existing breeding habitat by 35%, but will not be possible without the generous support of the public so the LPO Vendée has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the French platform Ulule. The campaign has already raised €10,000 but their target is €15,000 euros to extend this conservation work.

You can learn more and contribute to the campaign here: https://fr.ulule.com/ferme-cochets/

If you wish to contribute by bank transfer, please contact Perrine Dulac at marais-breton@lpo.fr. For more information about the project you can visit: https://www.bargeaqueuenoire.org/ & www.paysansdenature.fr LPO Vendée will be very happy to welcome IWSG members wishing to visit the area!   [caption id="attachment_10406" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Visit the dedicated website on the monitoring and conservation program of Black-tailed Godwit in Vendée & Pays de La Loire. The website compiled information on the species, surveys & conservation actions carried out in the area. It hosts also an online database for recoveries of colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit, where observers can enter their observation data and consult the bird's life history. https://www.bargeaqueuenoire.org[/caption]   Featured image: Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa ©Rémi Bontemps.  
Buying meadows for Black-tailed godwit conservation in France!

The “Marais Breton” (46.987867, -1.960771) is one of the last strongholds for breeding Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa  in France. The area supports up to 60% of the French population (~150-170 pairs). Whilst the importance of other sites in France continues to decrease, the population in the Marais Breton remains stable and even increasing mainly due to conservation action by The Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux LPO Vendée (local delegation of the Birdlife partner in France).

  • 1,207 hours of intense preparation from all organizers
  • 720 liters of beer drunk ad libitum throughout the whole conference
  • 404 Euros gained for IWSG via silent auction
  • 202 registered participants from 28 countries worldwide
  • 101 regular contributions (70 oral presentations, 31 posters)
  • 32 new IWSG members gained via Prague conference
  • 6 excellent plenary talks
  • 4 various excursions (unexpectedly nearly without waders)
  • 3 productive workshops
  • 1 friendly, vibrant and inspiring atmosphere in Prague created by all participants
This could be a short summary of our successful meeting in Prague. However a few more things deserve to be highlighted, especially those introduced for the first time in Prague. Nearly all presentations were videorecorded to allow you to catch up with parallel sessions, to let remote members to follow the conference and to give a feedback to presenters about their performance. All IWSG members can watch these recordings via this link: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/10362/ The last videos will be added soon and you can find there also contributions taped remotely in Brazil or Bangladesh and sent in advance from participants who in the end could not make it personally to Prague. Furthermore, we had your movies about waders being broadcasted during breakfasts, shorebird voices recognition contest, roasted invasive sika deer, superior Meopta optics exhibition, great drawings capturing many presentations from Ysbrand Galama, frisbee and discgolf sessions. Let’s see which features will launch a new tradition!   Once again, I would like to thank all participants for contributing to our pleasant Prague conference. It was the great pleasure for us to host you in Prague! Vojta Kubelka (on the behalf of the organizing team)    
Prague International Wader Study Group Conference retrospect

1,207 hours of intense preparation from all organizers 720 liters of beer drunk ad libitum throughout the whole conference 404 Euros gained for IWSG via silent auction 202 registered participants from 28 countries worldwide 101 regular contributions (70 oral presentations, 31 posters) 32 new IWSG members gained via Prague conference 6 excellent plenary talks 4 various excursions (unexpectedly nearly without waders) 3 productive workshops 1 friendly, vibrant and inspiring atmosphere in Prague

Simon Feys steps down as Colour-mark Sightings Officer

Simon was responsible for the IWSG sightings mailbox since March 2013. During his time as sightings officer he has dealt with about 3,000 sightings within the East Atlantic Flyway and elsewhere in Europe, distributing these sightings out to the network of species experts and then recording the outcome of the sightings as either success or failure. The sightings officer is an important role within the IWSG, helping observers trace project leaders of colour-marking projects that they have not been able to track down themselves. It can also be a frustrating job if people do not answer e-mails – which happens far too often. The position of the sightings officer is not a position within ExCo and as Simon did not come to the Wader Study Group Annual Conferences it is probable that not very many of you have actually met him, but he was always there working for the IWSG. We thank him for all his hard work over these years!   [caption id="attachment_10345" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Since 2013, Simon Feys has worked behind the scene as IWSG colour mark sightings officer. We are sincerely grateful to him for the work accomplished during his mandate.[/caption]  
Goodbye to our colour mark sightings officer Simon Feys

Simon Feys steps down as Colour-mark Sightings Officer Simon was responsible for the IWSG sightings mailbox since March 2013. During his time as sightings officer he has dealt with about 3,000 sightings within the East Atlantic Flyway and elsewhere in Europe, distributing these sightings out to the network of species experts and then recording the outcome of the sightings as either success or failure. The sightings officer is an important role within the IWSG, helping observers trace project