Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bar-tailed Godwit in breeding colors

Bar-tailed Godwit photographed in Sola, Norway 09th April 2013. These birds would have been using the East Atlantic Flyway as opposed to our East Asian-Australasian Flyway which passes through Borneo.

With the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, the Spring migration season starts to rev up, waders spending the summer southh are starting to make their arduous journey north. Those using the East Asian Flyway should start appearing in their partial breeding colors on the coasts of Sabah/Sarawak starting end Feb onwards. They'll rest, build up their energy before continuing the long and perilous journey to their breeding grounds. These waders should be arriving in the northern hemisphere from now onwards to be ready for the breeding season. 

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, Feb-Apr (Spring run) and Aug-Sep (Autumn run) would be the best times to stake out the coasts for waders migrating north (Spring) or south (Autumn) whichever occasion it may be. These are also great times to observe waders in their breeding colors (Spring when colors changing into, Autumn when colors changing out of).

In Kuala Baram and elsewhere on the coast of Miri, waders to watch out are the sandplovers ie. Lesser Sandplover and Greater Sandplover, Great Knot, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Long-toed Stint, Red-necked Stint, Sanderling and others.

The early breeding colors are especially brilliant in knots, plovers and more subtle for stints. sandpipers. A sight to see is the Pacific Golden Plover when they sport an almost tuxedo looking suit towards April.

Some birds recorded at the old Miri estuary in Feb and March can be seen here at Miri Waders 2008.

Image and text: Nazeri Abghani/Apr 2013 

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