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18th.-19th. June 2011. Swinhoe's Plover breeding beaches

Posted Wednesday 22nd June 2011 at 00:47 by BIJ
I was joined this weekend by a prestigious group from Hong Kong, Richard Lewthwaite,Mike Kilburn and Martin Hale. Needless to say I was quite nervous that the birds would have vanished but happily we found plenty of Swinhoe's Plover at both sites although I didn't carry out another beach count numbers remain strong. I am learning more and more each week about these charismatic birds which differ so strongly from nominate and Eastern sp. nihonensis Kentish Plovers both in appearnce and behaviour. Their contact calls are very different from nominate KPs. We also had considerable success in finding breeding Purple Swamphen which are rare in Guangdong
(2adults,3 juveniles). One of the adults was nest building which I hope means there will be a 2nd brood.
There is a considerable groundswell of groups and individuals gathering both from amongst environmental institutions, academics and birdwatchers considering how best to proceed to protect these two very important breeding sites as well as to set-up a field study group next year to monitor the population.
I hope to be able to find out if or when these birds leave for their wintering grounds. Peter Kennerley has told me that Dave Bracewell recorded wintering Swinhoe's Plover in September last year but it is still not clear whether these birds leave Guangdong or remain in total or small numbers.
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