A UWA ecologist says most benthic macro-invertebrate populations in Roebuck Bay’s intertidal zone have decreased significantly after blooms of the toxic blue-green Lyngbya… Read the feature in Science Network WA »
Read Professor Theunis Piersma’s statement for World Migratory Bird Day 2013. Below is an excerpt - read the entire statement »
“Wherever we study them, migrant birds are in trouble. Thus, I am deeply concerned about the future of most migrant champions and the habitats they rely on. They are champions precisely because the habitats that suit their needs are so few and far between. My best hope stems from other networking efforts, the connections now made with inspired people outside the narrow confines of my trade”…
Professor Piersma established monthly invertebrate monitoring in 1996, as well as leading three epic expeditions on Roebuck Bay’s mudflats, where he and his team sieved mud from 1500 locations turning up 30,000 invertebrates. This ongoing monitoring, carried out by DEC’s Yawuru Rangers and Broome Bird Observatory volunteers, provides invaluable data on the ecological health of the Bay.
Professor Piersma is a world leader in wetland ecology with a pedigree of scientific awards, so his statement is based on extraordinary knowledge and on ground experience.
Roebuck Bay Working Group’s shorebird experts, Chris Hassell and Adrian Boyle are on the shores of Bohai in China along with Matt Slaymaker and Ginny Chan. As in previous years, the primary aim of their trip is to scan the shorebirds that are passing through on their migration to their northern breeding grounds. To read about their fascinating adventures, the challenges the birds and scientists face on mudflats that are being industrialised, and their sightings, read their regular reports »
Here is the new film that captures the passion of the Broome community for Roebuck Bay, which is home to rare dolphins, thousands of migratory shorebirds, trillions of mud invertebrates, crocodiles, seagrass meadows, mangroves, lots of fish, dugongs, turtles and much more. The message is look after it and reduce run off from your property into Broome’s stormwater drains. It is currently running on Goolarri Television and was funded by Rangelands NRM.
Roebuck Bay’s migratory shorebirds embarking on their extraordinary migration to the northern hemisphere? If not, then here’s your chance. Head out to the northern shores to the Broome Bird Observatory on the 13th or 14th of April to meet with shorebird experts who will help you to view the birds through telescopes set up on the beach. The migratory shorebirds will have a beautiful new set of feathers and lots of fat on their bodies for their 10,000 kilometre migration.
Migration Watch 3:45pm Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April, meet at Broome Bird Observatory Office
Broome is the shorebird capital
of Australia, so Broome’s youth should have a copy of a new mini mag on shorebirds. The mag is an activity booklet designed for kids aged 5-12. It is easy to read and full of fun activities that explain the incredible migrations of shorebirds. The mag covers shorebird ecology and surprisingly, Geography and Maths, and in doing so, gives a ‘bigger picture’ view of our world.
P.S. Don’t forget the competition to win a pair of binoculars
The Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) are looking for new members to get involved in their expeditions to Broome and 80 Mile Beach? If you are already a volunteer, but not a member, then consider the next step and seeing the fruits of your labour in notes, articles, reports and scientific papers.
Click on this AWSG Brochure to enable you to join. The price has just gone up but not on this brochure so if you join now you’ll be $5 better off! For more information, visit the Global Flyway Network »
Roebuck Bay Working Group member Chris Hassell, an enthusiastic researcher for the Global Flyway Network, is currently in China to find shorebirds that began their annual migration from Roebuck Bay in April and May this year. Global Flyway Network researchers spend two months in Bohai Bay each spring to monitor the Red Knot and other species using the mudflats on their annual migration from Roebuck Bay to Alaska and Siberia.
Migratory shorebirds from Roebuck Bay fly up to 10,000km each year from Roebuck Bay to Arctic breeding grounds, however they cannot do this long flight in one long haul. The need to stopover at the Yellow Sea bordering China and Korea to feed before heading to Alaska or Siberia to mate and nest. There are however serious difficulties for many of these migrating shorebirds, as very large areas of intertidal mudflats in the Yellow Sea are being industrialised at an ever increasing rate, taking away their vital feeding grounds.
This means they are not able to stop and get the food they need to make their journey as successfully as they have done in the past and even in some cases to survive the journey at all. The result is major reductions in many species, particularly the Great Knot and Red Knot, the Curlew Sandpiper and several other species.
Chris Hassell, whose work is funded by WWF-Nederland, WWF-China and Beijing Normal University and Matt Slaymaker and Adrian Boyle have been documenting their work on Bohai Bay in Northern China if you wish to read more…
- Bohai 2012 – Update 1 »
- Bohai 2012 – Update 2 »
- Bohai 2012 – Update 3 »
- Bohai 2012 – Update 4 »
- Bohai 2012 – Update 5 »
- Bohai 2012 – Update 6 »
To learn more about Roebuck Bay’s migratory shorebirds, their migration to the northern hemisphere and the difficulties they are currently facing getting food on the Yellow Sea, you can purchase the wonderful book Invisible Connections. The book’s editor Ms Jan Lewis said some birds faced extinction if their feeding grounds continued to be destroyed. The book contains 240 superb photos by renowned wildlife photographer Jan van de Kam.
The book Invisible Connections is available from Broome Bird Observatory and the Kimberley Bookshop.
Researchers on 80 Mile Beach WA say numbers of migratory shorebirds visiting Australia’s west coast this year is worryingly low and development in China could be to blame.
Each year millions of birds make a stopover in China during their journey from Australia to breeding grounds in Artic Siberia.
Ornithologist, Dr Clive Minton, has been studying migratory birds at the 80 mile beach south of Broome for over 30 years, says the loss of habitat in parts of Asia is causing a major drop in numbers visiting Australia.
“Due to development in China and particularly industrial development, very large areas of inter-tidal mud flats around the Yellow Sea have been reclaimed at an ever-increasing rate and that’s taken away vital feeding habitats for these birds,” he said.
“So they’re not able to stop and get the food they need to make their journey as successfully as they’ve done in the past and even in some cases to survive the journey at all.
“So we’re seeing major reductions in many species, particularly the Great Knot and Red Knot, the Curlew Sandpiper and several other species.”
DATES FOR the ever popular “cannon netting” days for the 2012 season have recently been announced.
Join Chris Hassell, Aidy Boyle and the team in this fascinating opportunity to view the amazing migratory shorebirds of Roebuck Bay up close whilst playing a valuable role in their conservation.
- Dates and details can be found on the Shorebirds Volunteering page »