Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall 2013 migration

Fall migration has began in earnest. Five young Asian dowitchers arrived at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Monday together with a grey-tailed tattler. By yesterday another dowitcher joined the group along with a black-tailed godwit.
The Asian dowitcher is a rare mid-sized wader that is near threatened. It breeds in inland northern Asia during the spring/summer months and winters in Southeast Asia down to Australia. Unfortunately for us the Asian dowitcher is a passage migrant and it only stops for a day or two to rest and feed before moving on. After missing the bird during the previous seasons I'm happy to be rewarded with six birds. The last record of such a high count was during the 1980 migration.
5 Asian dowitchers actively feeding, the 6th was sleeping

The black-tailed godwit shares similar IUCN status with the Asian dowitcher. Godwits are also passage migrants as they prefer to winter in Australia. Finding these birds in a large mixed flock is always a challenge but the trick is to look for them among the whimbrels.
This lone godwit was surrounded by three dowitchers

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