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The importance of Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea to bar-tailed godwits Limosa lapponica and great knots Calidris tenuirostris during northward migration

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posted on 2015-03-01, 00:00 authored by Chi Yeung Choi, P F Battley, M A Potter, K G Rogers, Z Ma
Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica and Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris are long-distance migratory shorebirds with declining numbers in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. One of the most important staging sites for these two species during northward migration is Yalu Jiang coastal wetland in the north Yellow Sea. Historical counts have been limited to once a year and conducted at different periods; these yield inadequate data for population monitoring. We estimated the numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots and described their migration phenology during northward migration from 2010 to 2012 at the Yalu Jiang coastal wetland, using a combination of periodic area-wide counts over the migration period and a modelling approach that estimates passage times and total numbers of birds transiting. The mean arrival date for L. l. baueri godwits was 29 March and mean departure date was 8 May. Corresponding dates were 11 April and 15 May for L. l. menzbieri godwits and 7 April and 14 May for Great Knots. We estimated that an annual average of over 68,000 Bar-tailed Godwits and 44,000 Great Knots used the area on northward migration from 2010–2012. Our results indicate that the Yalu Jiang coastal wetland supports on average at least 42% of the flyway’s northward-migrating L. l. baueri godwits, 19% of L. l. menzbieri godwits, and 22% of the Great Knots. Comparisons with historical counts conducted during peak migration periods indicate a 13% decline in Bar-tailed Godwits since 2004 and an 18% decline in Great Knots since 1999. Our results confirm that the study area remains the most important northward migration staging site for Bar-tailed Godwits and indicate that it has become the most important northward migration staging site for Great Knots along the flyway.

History

Journal

Bird conservation international

Volume

25

Issue

1

Pagination

53 - 70

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

Cambridge, Eng.

ISSN

0959-2709

eISSN

1474-0001

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, BirdLife International