Rare spoon-billed sandpiper in Hong Kong

This video says about itself:

Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a critically endangered and unique wader. A digiscoping video using a Swarovski ATS65HD, DCA and 25x50WA Zoom Lens coupled with a Nikon Coolpix P5100. A wintering bird on the Gulf of Thailand in February 2010.

From John’s Hong Kong Birding Blog:

4 April 2011

Spoonie” at the boardwalk, Mai Po

A 2.2 metre tide brought a good pack of waders close to the hides at Mai Po today. The star of the show – first spotted by Annika Forsten and some other visiting Finnish birders – was a winter plumage Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Heritage Expeditions – a BirdLife Species Champion supporting Spoon-billed Sandpiper – struck gold this week when they, and the passengers they have taken to the Russian Far East, helped discover a previously unknown breeding population of these rapidly declining waders: here.

WORLD FIRST: spoon-billed sandpiper chicks hatch in captivity: here.

Spoon-Billed Sandpiper: An Action Thriller Rescue: here.

Effects of climate change on species occupying distinct areas during their life cycle are still unclear. Moreover, although effects of climate change have widely been studied at the species level, less is known about community responses. Here, we test whether and how the composition of wader (Charadrii) assemblages, breeding in high latitude and wintering from Europe to Africa, is affected by climate change over 33 years. We calculated the temporal trend in the community temperature index (CTI), which measures the balance between cold and hot dwellers present in species assemblages. We found a steep increase in the CTI, which reflects a profound change in assemblage composition in response to recent climate change. This study provides, to our knowledge, the first evidence of a strong community response of migratory species to climate change in their wintering areas: here.


9 thoughts on “Rare spoon-billed sandpiper in Hong Kong

  1. Myanmar crucial to conservation of rare sandpiper

    By Ei Ei Toe Lwin

    May 30 – June 5, 2011

    THE Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and BirdLife International are hoping their conservation efforts in Myanmar can help pull the spoon-billed sandpiper from the brink of extinction.

    The spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) has been designated as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Critically endangered species are those that face “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild”, according to the IUCN website.

    According to BANCA, spoon-billed sandpipers breed on the coastal tundra of eastern Russia, migrating along the Pacific seaboard of Asia to wintering sites in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The species is in decline because of poaching and changing weather conditions during the long migration.

    A data sheet from BirdLife International explained that the Russian Academy of Science first noticed a sharp decline in spoon-billed sandpiper populations at the breeding grounds in 2000. In 2004 the species was upgraded from vulnerable to endangered on the IUCN Red List, and was further upgraded in 2007 to critically endangered – the last stop before extinction – as populations continued to decline.

    BANCA chairman Dr Htin Hla said that in Myanmar, status surveys of spoon-billed sandpiper populations started in 2008.

    “BANCA, BirdLife International and their partners have conducted surveys at the Gulf of Martaban [in southern Myanmar] and Nanthar Island [in Rakhine State],” he said.

    The 2008 survey counted 48 spoon-billed sandpipers in the Gulf of Martaban and 36 on Nanthar Island. The numbers dropped to 47 and 14 respectively in 2009, but last year saw a big recovery in the gulf with 75 counted in that area. The number at Nanthar Island also rose, but only slightly, to 16.

    Dr Htin Hla said that according to these surveys, Myanmar holds the largest population of wintering spoon-billed sandpipers in the world.

    “But more studies are needed to confirm the numbers and protect these areas,” he said, adding that his organisation would continue its efforts to educate locals to stop hunting the birds, a program that also started in 2008.

    “We try to convince hunters to stop shooting the birds by providing support to change their behaviour. We don’t give them money, but we provide materials to start a new occupation, such as fishing nets and baskets. I think this costs around K150,000 to K200,000 a person,” Dr Htin Hla said.

    U Aung Kyaw Nyunt, a member of one of BANCA’s education teams, said the organisation educates locals in 15 villages – located in Kyaikhto, Bilin, Tahtone and Paung townships in Mon State – about environmental conservation and maintaining bird populations.

    “We find bird hunters and provide support to help them change their livelihoods. We make contracts with them: We provide fishing equipment, and in exchange they agree to give up bird hunting. Since March 2010, 15 hunters have handed over their hunting equipment to us,” U Aung Kyaw Nyunt said.

    BirdLife International and its partners – including the Ministry of Environment (Japan), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK, ArCona, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust UK, East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, Private Initiative in Sweden, and Japan Wetlands Action Network – have provided assistance to BANCA’s efforts since 2008.

    This has included help in conducting the Gulf of Martaban and Nanthar Island surveys, as well as providing technical assistance and necessary equipment.

    Mr Samba Chan, the senior conservation officer at BirdLife International’s Asia Division, said his organisation was well aware that Myanmar was “one of the most important areas for maintaining” spoon-billed sandpipers.

    “We hope we can support the Myanmar government in the study and management of these areas,” he said at a ceremony in Yangon on February 6 marking the 40th Anniversary of the World Wetlands Day.



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