She left the UK on the evening of August 13th and arrived in Africa on the night of August 15th, having probably flown non-stop. He can tell you, too, that there are five species of cormorant here: the whole of Europe has only three. As with so many of our activities which sadly either had to be postponed or cancelled altogether, monitoring of godwits had to be scaled back to a bare minimum. The benefit of flying in a flock is that they fly in a V-formation. What to do? “If all storms increase in frequency and intensity, I think godwits will adapt to it; but if the storm track shifts for whatever reason, it could very well not provide the tailwind they need.”. It’s not just godwits from the UK that come here – Icelandic black-tailed godwits, plus godwits from the Netherlands (where the majority of the north-west European population breed) also gather here. So when they see a skua [which preys on their chicks in the Arctic], they go crazy. The first influx had clearly arrived from Alaska, as some of them still bore traces of their breeding plumage. Even Crossland can’t figure that one out. A part from the Avon/Heathcote, godwits are fond of just about anything that qualifies as a large food-rich estuary. Project Godwit is a partnership between RSPB and WWT with major funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme, the HSBC 150th Anniversary Fund, Natural England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Back from the Brink Programme, Leica and the Montague-Panton Animal Welfare Trust. Birds ringed by Project Godwit have a lime colour ring on the right leg stamped with the letter ‘E’ and can be reported to the team here. on Headstarted birds make their way south, threatened with the development of an airport, multitude of other reasons this airport should not be built, Storms, punctures, a broken bike – all in the name of fundraising. Eggs and chicks of this ground-nesting wading bird are vulnerable to predators such as foxes and badgers, so the purpose of this fence is to keep ground predators out and protect breeding godwits, giving them a helping hand. It was two-for-the-price-of-one for this godwit stop, as siblings Lady and Manea have both been seen here at Old Hall Marshes, spotted together in July 2017. Rather than putting up with the cold during the winter, many birds migrate to warmer climates for several months each year. Their total New Zealand population is currently estimated to be about 80,000. Repeatability 0.77 overall 0.83 for adults only Battley. Due to the lockdown, it is unknown exactly how many pairs have bred at each project site this spring. Amongst some of the godwit sightings recently to have arrived in the team’s inbox is that of a female godwit reported from the Tagus estuary by Hugo Areal. Terns, shags, stilts, oystercatchers, all manner of shorebirds and waders, he knows them well. They are estuary birds and will migrate to various estuarys because of the abundant food source. It’s for the benefit of black-tailed godwits breeding at the Nene Washes, the stronghold for the breeding population of this threatened species. Male godwit Morgan has been spotted at Pagham Harbour in Sussex, Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve in Hampshire and RSPB Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire in July – all within a fortnight! She may return to the UK at the usual breeding age of two next year, or she may join the Dutch breeding population of black-tailed godwits and return to the Netherlands each spring. Nature reserve: RSPB Boyton Marshes, Suffolk. If that’s true, then it could have been one of those light-bulb moments when Kupe, say, scanned the skies above Hawaiiki and muttered to himself, “Hmm…where are those birds going? The second day of the challenge took Jen and Mark to Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve in Hampshire. Despite the vital importance of the area for biodiversity, the Tagus estuary is threatened with the development of an airport for Lisbon. Anouk has been spending a lot of time with Delph, another headstarted bird, so we will be keeping a close eye on them to see if they attempt to breed this year. Or, as another paper co-authored by Gill puts it, “Is weather across the Pacific teleconnected such that certain departure cues at northern latitudes assure relatively favourable conditions along most of the route?”. This male breeds at the Nene Washes every spring and was spotted again this year. Widespread in summer across northern Europe and Asia, this godwit also crosses the Bering Strait to nest in western Alaska. If you think you have seen a godwit with a lime leg ring, stamped with the letter E, you can let us know about it here. They can be found every summer, says Massey University ornithologist Phil Battley, congregating in northern harbours like Kaipara, Manukau and Kawhia; the Firth of Thames is another popular spot, as is Farewell Spit. The other analysis I have worked on during lockdown is comparing adult, nest and chick survival rates between an earlier period of research at the Nene Washes, during which the godwit population at the Nene Washes increased (1999-2003) and a more contemporary period (2015-2016) in which the population has declined. She flies non-stop seven days, ten thousand kilometers, to the Yellow Sea. He thumbs through a battered old diary. A team of researchers headed by Robert Gill Jr. of the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center in Anchorage implanted tiny satellite trackers in female godwits near the Alaska coast. Collecting the eggs early in the season encourages the adult breeding pair to lay another clutch. Waiting for the right moment to announce itself—a slight shift in the wind, perhaps. This is another risk this species with its Near Threatened global status can really do without, especially when the UK population is already so small and vulnerable, not to mention the multitude of other reasons this airport should not be built. That's why it is critical that godwits and other vulnerable species have undisturbed access to their highly productive feeding areas in New Zealand and along the flyways, he says. Basically, various council people asked me to give them information and I became their kind of main adviser. Ringed as a chick in 2001, this female godwit was spotted at the Tagus estuary, Portugal on 3 October by Daniel Raposo. As some big wetlands around the margin of the estuary have been developed, they really want to encourage the birds to use those sites. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. It’s by no means the only migratory bird to come to these shores, but it works the hardest to do so. It will be interesting to measure the impact our fencing has on wader nest success in the coming months. Birds from Iceland spend winter in the UK. Black-tailed godwits have a bold black and white stripe on … Fast forward six months to late September, and we’re back on the estuary to see the godwits that have jetted in from Alaska, as per their annual schedule. This work shows that nest and chick survival, but not adult survival, are low in the contemporary period compared to the early period. The first was from ‘Cornelia’, a head-started chick released at the Nene Washes in 2018 (also learn more here). The pair have met up each spring for the last three years. We’ve been busy over the winter making sure that the project sites are in the right condition for when they do return. Jean Rees-Lyons, Artistic Director of The Word Garden helped name some of the head-started birds of 2019 as part of ‘the ‘Origins Project’, remembering the Scottish Soldiers. Over the years there have been many sightings of this godwit in Portugal in autumn and late winter, making the team at Project Godwit wonder if he spends the winter here, rather than migrating all the way to West Africa. Godwits \ The Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird first described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758.It is a member of the Limosa genus, the godwits.There are three subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest in breeding plumage and dull grey-brown winter coloration, and distinctive black and white wingbar at all times. Project Godwit is a five-year partnership project between the RSPB and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust with major funding from the EU LIFE Nature Programme, HSBC 150th Anniversary Fund, Natural England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Back from the Brink Programme, Leica and the Montague-Panton Animal Welfare Trust. on Storms, punctures, a broken bike – all in the name of fundraising. The days are getting shorter and colder, the four UK countries have been in and out of lockdowns and tiered restrictions like the hokey cokey, and summer seems like a distant memory. This behaviour is common for juvenile godwits, whereby they often don’t return to the UK breeding grounds until the age of two years. So if a godwit can survive the South Island winter, why would any of them feel the need to leave at all? They’re here and all of a sudden they see a brown seagull and whoa! There will, however, be plenty of support and good wishes sent from afar to spur them on when the muscles in their perpetually peddling legs begin to ache. Here’s hoping Juno returns to the Fens next spring. The dynamic duo took on this endurance challenge of cycling 600 miles in 8 days to raise funds for Project Godwit and the International Wader Study Group (which gives out small grants each year to support wader projects around the world). The males, being smaller, can’t handle the weight of that implanted unit, so they have a much lighter solar-powered unit that has to be applied externally. Birds that migrate to New Zealand. Hail, then, Limosa lapponica!—or, to give it its Maori name, kuaka! Cornelia was released on June 27th 2018. “They just look exhausted. Thirty-eight years old now, he has been coming here since he was a boy. Interesting questions that challenge current knowledge! There’s still time to donate to the Funds for Waders cycling fundraiser! Explains Crossland: “Of the, say, 70 birds that we caught about three years ago, more than 60 came back the following year and there’s probably about 50-odd here three or four years later, so there’s actually quite high survival.”. Colour ringing helps us better understand the movements of these migratory birds and the incredible journeys they undertake. “Well, ‘Why come?’ is the other question,” replies Crossland. Nature reserve: Suffolk WT Trimley Marshes, Head-started godwits spotted here: Fenn & Tipps. Although not in the UK, Cloud was spotted in the Netherlands near Westkapelle in May. Female black-tailed godwits tend to disperse further than the males, though most birds recruit close to the natal site. Fingers crossed Hope will be back at the project sites in the Fens next year. Bar-tailed godwits nesting in Alaska (L. l. baueri) travel all the way to Australia and New Zealand. Hurricane spent last spring near Valencia, Spain, therefore this is the first time he’s been back in the UK since being released as a chick at RSPB Nene Washes in June 2018. This one-year-old male has been at the Ouse Washes since May this year, moving between WWT Welney and RSPB Ouse Washes nature reserve. This includes the head-starting and release of godwit chicks – meaning there will be no ‘Class of 2020’. Nelson spent the breeding season this year on the Ouse Washes, after pairing with Lady, another godwit head-started in 2017. Anouk was seen in the Netherlands on 27 March and just a week later was seen back at WWT Welney. In any case, he says, godwits tend to be edgier than the other birds, nervous about predators. Birds like godwits and oystercatchers love it. Head-started female Omaha has been back at WWT Welney since May. Its rings reveal it to be an incredible 19 years old! The fact this godwit is spending another spring here suggests she has joined the Dutch breeding population of black-tailed godwits. This was closely followed by a sighting of Tom, a headstarted bird released at WWT Welney in 2018, wintering in Porto Alto in Portugal. Anouk was released in 2017 at WWT Welney. Most people know not to walk too near and disturb the birds, says Crossland, who praises the strong community spirit around the estuary. L. l. lapponica make the shortest migration, some only as far as the North Sea, while others travel as far as India. No ‘godwit stops’ to a reserve where godwits have been spotted today – but with dreadful stormy weather over 72 very hilly and soggy miles, plus a puncture, Jen and Mark had enough to contend with. This ‘wild-reared’ male godwit is 17 years old, revealed by his rings which show he was ringed as a chick in 2003 at RSPB Nene Washes. One measure we’re trialling at the Nene Washes is exclusion fencing. “The batteries should last for about 300 hours of transmission time and last year we had about 600 hours of transmission time,” says Battley. Lady spent the breeding season this year at the Ouse Washes (with Nelson), moving between WWT Welney and the RSPB Pilot Project site. To build a more complete picture of the godwits’ movements, we’ve been fitting some of the birds with geolocators. It’s great to learn that these birds are continuing to do well after their release. One-year-old female godwit ‘Sky’ was reported at a national nature reserve near Yves in Western France in September by Jérémy Dupuy. Maris was first spotted in the Netherlands in May 2019 in Aldwaldmersyl, then she returned to the Netherlands again – this time to Zuiderwoude in May this year. Needless to say, lots of plans and dreams this year have been scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic. Head-started female Earith, who features on the back of the Project Godwit cycling jersey, nests at this site and in three years has fledged six chicks. Nonetheless, we are aware of some pairings. Nature reserve: RSPB Nene Washes, Cambridgeshire. “Most of the movement relates to the atmospheric conditions—favourable tail winds, that sort of thing,” says Crossland. Map of the migration route of godwit ‘OB-OL(E)’. 112 godwits have been head-started and released since the first year of the project in 2017, to boost the number of black-tailed godwits breeding in the UK. For many years, he says, he would count various bird populations up to eight times a month; now he does them perhaps once a month “because I understand from my earlier data how the seasonal abundance pattern works”. We’re still waiting for the first of our class of 2018 to return to the project sites, however as these birds are youngsters, they may take their time coming back to the breeding sites (and some may not return at all this year). “The stilts are visual feeders, not probers, so the other two are probing but the stilts are picking stuff off the surface—little flies and crustaceans. Written by Denis Welch I’ll keep you posted! Consistent annual scheduling in a migratory bird. Then it gets cold real quick and they can’t survive there; they’ve got to get out of it. The Arctic tern takes frequent rests on the water and fishes for food; the godwits, having stuffed themselves before leaving, don’t even stop to eat. The godwits are mainly feeding on polychaete worms—sea worms that you dig up for bait. This wasn’t enough, however, to deter Jen and Mark from doing a radio interview over the phone for BBC Radio Somerset whilst sheltering under an underpass nearly Crawley. on What does a godwit scientist do in lockdown? Their feathers are very sleek so that the wind can pass over as smoothly as possible. Conservationists and RSPB staff members Dr Jen Smart and husband Mark Smart had planned to cycle from the UK to the annual conference of the International Wader Study Group (IWSG), which was to be held in Germany this year. Thurs 27th – RSPB Old Hall Marshes, Essex 600 miles, 8 days, 11 nature reserves, 1 epic challenge! The way to get around the battery is to have a solar panel on it, but of course that has to be on the outside of the bird, and that’s when you start getting interference with the wind flow.”. Nature reserve: Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, Hampshire. I imagined the tumbling Lapwing, the whirring Snipe and the nesting Godwits. Signs of spring are well underway at our project sites in the fens and it won’t be long before the first black-tailed godwits return to the Nene and Ouse Washes. This is the first observation of Sky since her release in well over a year – fingers crossed she will return to the UK next year to breed in the Fens. We were thrilled in early February to receive a sighting of young godwit, fledged from the Nene Washes in 2018 but spotted in Coto Donâna, Spain. on 600 miles, 8 days, 11 nature reserves, 1 epic challenge! You can see them walking around looking.”, The godwits’ journey north takes them to a halfway stop on the shores of the Yellow Sea between China and Korea, where there’s reliable estuarine feeding (or has been up to now: those grounds are being threatened by massive reclamation projects). Anyone who doesn’t have at least some degree of admiration for the feat of bird migration either isn’t aware of the challenges involved or must lack any sense of wonder and imagination. Bar-tailed Godwits are quite large waders, with females being bigger than males. Many birds come from overseas to feed at estuaries and mudflats during New Zealand’s summer. This major asset for RSPB Nene Washes and Project Godwit has been funded thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund via the Back from the Brink programme and the EU LIFE Nature programme. To Prince Godwits migrate because it is too cold to winter over in Alaska. Bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica baueri migrate northward from New Zealand toward Asian stopover sites … The question of why has long been a difficult question for biologists (more specifically ornithologists) to answer. It’s always exciting when we receive sightings of the birds from the project, and we’d like to thank the birdwatchers out there for keeping a look out for these special birds. This is very late in the season for such a flight – in fact, it’s the latest southward Sahara crossing on record for an adult godwit! They undertake the longest non-stop migrations of any bird, and to fuel this carry the greatest fat loads of any migratory bir… “I’ve known him for more than 10 years. Researchers had hoped at best to track her northward migration and maybe just a bit of the trip back. This godwit breeds at the Nene Washes every spring and was seen with its partner and chicks in May this year by a member of the team. The survival rate is better here, too. Firstly, major mechanical failure struck with Jen’s bike – meaning the rest of the day had to be ridden with a single speed conversion, then Jen and Mark were buffeted along the North Norfolk coast by 45 mph winds! • Godwits leave Alaska when it starts to cool off. It’s largely because of their size. We know from banded birds. Collecting the eggs early in the season encourages the adult breeding pair to lay another clutch, thereby preventing any net loss to the source population. Project Godwit and all our colleagues working to protect godwits are indebted to all who go to the trouble of reporting colour ring sightings. Once, when he lay prostrate and motionless in the sand, oystercatchers used his body as a windbreak. Sky was head-started as a chick at WWT Welney Wetland Centre in June 2019 and released at the Nene Washes. Facing north. Fenn was head-started at WWT Welney in June 2019 and spotted a month later here in July, while Tipps was head-started in June 2017 and seen in July 2017. Why do godwits behave so differently, and how do these individual differences come about? Most godwits begin breeding around the age of two and although some have been known to breed successfully at that age and even younger, more experienced adults tend to have greater breeding success.
2020 why do godwits migrate