I am thrilled to be able to report that after months of gruelling and often unsatisfying field work, we have finally retrieved another geolocator snipe with a full migration light record. This is the second only for the project and the first recapture for Canberra. The bird was originally tagged at Jerrabomberra wetlands on December 10, 2017. It was recaptured in the same area on November 18, and was in good condition. It was 1 of only 3 birds caught on the day, the other 2 were juveniles!
For those who remember T0’s track from 2016, they will immediately notice a difference. The analyses of these data were a bit tricky, and further refinement may shift some of the stopover locations. So it is possible you’ll see a slightly different map at some stage in the future. However, we can say for sure that P3 has staged somewhere in south-east Queensland on its northward migration, it has spent the breeding season in either the very north of Hokkaido or southern Sakhalin (around late April to early August), and then returned to Australia via central Honshu and possibly even Papua New Guinea.
We have now had a total of 4 confirmed recaptures / resightings of last year’s birds at Jerrabomberra wetlands this season. That corresponds to around a 18% return rate in the year following first capture. That’s pretty good numbers for snipe! These include a second geolocator bird ELF 94, which has so far eluded recapture, plus ELFs 90 and 92.
I would like to thank the volunteers in Canberra who have laboured alongside me in the swamps in Canberra, trying to catch snipe through severely sleep-deprived nights. And thanks to my broader Latham’s Snipe Project team, both my colleague Lori Gould in Canberra, and my original Port Fairy team.
September 2018 count results
In other news, not quite as sensational but still surprisingly good, was the results from the September 15 count. Despite the appalling weather conditions across south-east Australia that day, plus the horrendous drought conditions inland which may have affected southward migrating birds, we still had a total count of 562 across more than 110 sites. Given the weather, that compares well to last September’s count of 584 snipe across ~80 sites.
The results from the November count are still being entered, but early signs suggest the numbers might almost double. A large count of around 150 snipe in Robe has made a big contribution to the likely large numbers for that month.
Thanks once again to all the counters, those that diligently get out each survey and count their site, and those new comers this year who have added new sites and information.