Return of the Waders – 10,000 Birds

Round this time of the 12 months, the primary few waders are again in Shanghai from their breeding grounds far additional up north.

Typically, being again right here early just isn’t an excellent signal – it could point out a failed breeding try, as instructed for Asian Dowitchers in a paper on their presence in Lianyungang considerably additional north of Shanghai.

And as there are solely about 23,000 of them round globally (of which the picture beneath reveals about 0.01%), this can be a little bit of a pity.

Asian Dowitchers at Nanhui on July 26, 2022: all losers?

Some well-meaning recommendation to Asian Dowitchers: If you wish to eliminate your Close to-Threatened standing, it’s worthwhile to get higher at breeding. Oh, and possibly people must be a bit much less harmful to your habitat, too.

The Black-tailed Godwit is Close to Threatened as nicely, although it appears to be simpler to see round Nanhui. The HBW estimates the worldwide inhabitants at 140,000 to 270,000 pairs. In Europe, most of them winter south of the Sahara however an rising share winters north of it – which feels like an attention-grabbing analysis matter for individuals who, ahem, discover such subjects attention-grabbing. Sadly (a minimum of from a storyline standpoint), there appears to be no main benefit in not crossing the Sahara (supply). It’s rumored that one of many researchers later turned a software program developer. Then once more, provided that the paper has 12 authors, this may increasingly simply be statistics at work.

The Latin species title of the Marsh Sandpiper is stagnantwhich in some way I assumed would possibly trace on the skinny, needle-sharp invoice of the hen (I have no idea how I bought this concept, possibly the phrase stagnatilis sounds sort of sharp) however in actuality, stagnatilis means “of or belonging to swimming pools or ponds” (HBW).

No less than the Marsh Sandpiper is categorized as Least Concern.

A Curlew Sandpiper at Nanhui tried to remain nameless by hiding its attribute downturned (although I assume the technical time period can be “decurved”) invoice.

Although additionally categorized as Close to Threatened, the HBW states that there are nonetheless a couple of million of them. The reason why it’s nonetheless thought to be threatened comes straight from a paper:

“Amongst all long-distance migratory birds on this globe, the ~8 million shorebirds that migrate alongside the East Asian–Australasian Flyway are significantly laborious hit by international change processes, with Curlew Sandpiper exhibiting the steepest decline of all, having decreased by >80 % over 23 years.”

To not level fingers, however right here is an excerpt from the HBW on Curlew Sandpiper stopover areas:

“As much as 65% of intertidal habitat within the Yellow Sea area of E Asia has been misplaced over the previous 50 years, and greater than 1% of remaining habitat is being misplaced per 12 months to reclamation for agriculture, aquaculture and different growth”.

At Nanhui, the loss is actually a lot higher than 1% per 12 months. Given the developments I’ve seen within the final 7 years or so, 10% per 12 months appears extra reasonable, I’m afraid. Then again, for each disturbed Nanhui, there are in all probability a minimum of 10 coastal locations in China which can be fully undisturbed, so all of it evens out.

The Crimson-necked Stint – would you could have guessed it – can also be pretty frequent at Nanhui but additionally Close to Threatened. Evidently at Nanhui, any person is attempting to kill much more than 2 hen(s) (species) with one stone (to be extra correct, not a single stone however a large quantity of concrete).

Whereas small, these birds cowl spectacular migration routes. One latest paper states that “One particular person accomplished its northward migration of >9400 km in two marathon flights; the second leg of that journey was accomplished in a nonstop flight of 5350 km.”

The Widespread Redshank is nearly an exception among the many Nanhui waders in that it’s listed as Least Concern.

To proceed my obscure joke that no person remembers nor has ever regarded as humorous, the Widespread Redshank prefers consuming beer to consuming wine, as anybody ought to.

(Max Goldt, a German writer and satirist, as soon as outlined wine as “what one drinks when one has run out of beer”. Effectively stated).

In sturdy distinction to another birds present in Shanghai – particularly Pheasant-tailed Jacana and Higher Painted-snipe – the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper observes rather more conventional gender roles (and is hopefully lauded and praised by conservative people everywhere in the world – I’ve heard a rumor that the US Supreme Courtroom will select the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper as its heraldic animal). In keeping with the HBW, “solely feminine incubates and cares for younger … [while] lazy depart throughout [the] incubation interval”. Proper on, sharpies!

It additionally appears the species is sweet at maintaining its nest hidden – whereas the hen was named in 1821, its nest and eggs have been solely found in 1958 (supply).

Being a reasonably incompetent birder, I all the time have issues distinguishing between the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and the Lengthy-toed Stin. I do know, the latter is far smaller, however the birds are often lengthy gone as soon as I bought out my measuring system.

In Southern Portugal, Little Ringed Plovers nest both alongside pure streams or close to agricultural ponds. Nevertheless, the success charge as described in a paper is just about 31%, impartial of the kind of location. Apparently, the selection is for the nests to be flooded (these close to streams) or to be trampled by cattle (these close to the agricultural ponds). Pestilence or plague, good to know the plovers have a selection.

Come on, we get it already: you Black-winged Stilts have very lengthy legs. No must remind us on a regular basis.

No must shout about it both!

As I could have run out of attention-grabbing issues to say concerning the Wooden Sandpiper, right here is one thing barely much less attention-grabbing. The Latin species title glareola comes from the Latin “glarea” =gravel, sand, to point the habitats the place it lives (supply).

Whereas Shanghaibirding claims that Gray-headed Lapwings are uncommon in Shanghai, I see them fairly recurrently. The picture on the Shanghaibirding web site is significantly better than the one beneath although.

Whereas grazing cattle and buffalo could look idyllic to us, the Oriental Pratincole has a really totally different view. In areas the place there’s a excessive density of those animals grazing, lower than 50% of all nests are profitable (supply). No marvel that Oriental Pratincoles typically encourage people to eat extra beef.

The Pacific Golden Plover will get the uncommon honor of its HBW entry beginning with a quote from a Nineteen Fifties Alaska hen information: “The Golden Plover is an aristocratic amongst birds. Every thing about it’s distinctive.” Perhaps, simply possibly, the HBW folks often care about birds in spite of everything.

Elsewhere, the HBW talks about these plovers being thought-about “the excessive velocity champions amongst shorebirds”

The species can also be surprisingly long-lived – one examine mentions a hen that died at an age of a minimum of 21 years.