Looking for the Australian Painted Snipe …

As some of you are already aware, and despite our best efforts, we were unable to catch and tag any birds before they chased the warmer weather and vanished. There were about a dozen sites reported nationally, mostly in NSW, since our crowdfunding ended just before Christmas. But only one site showed real promise for catching. It was near Mungindi in the Gwydir region and consistently had birds for over a month. Local bird guru, Pat Johnston, recorded 32 individuals at one stage, making it the best site, in terms of abundance, recorded anywhere for years.

We were ready to pounce and then it dried out. It was terribly disappointing. Most of the other sites involved just one or two birds moving through and we remain deeply concerned for this species. Still, we are raring to go and once spring arrives the birds will begin returning. We will rely heavily on sightings so as it warms up please get out there amongst the mud and rushes and try to find some of these wetland enigmas for us.

In the meantime, we are building a dedicated website that will launch when the birds return. It will be a one-stop shop for all things Australian Painted-snipe and it’s where you can follow our tracked birds, such as Gloria and Clive. You can already find us on Facebook and Twitter at “Tracking Australian Painted-snipe”.

And some good news, we were successful in our bid to be the recipients of this year’s NSW/ACT Twitchathon fundraising. The project, “Engaging the custodians of Australian Painted-snipe”, will enable us to visit the wetlands that our tracked birds use and meet with the owners to highlight their special visitors. We will engage wetland managers across NSW, such as farmers, traditional owners, local government officials and park rangers, by meeting them on the ground as our birds move, then develop concise, site-specific conservation plans for them to manage their wetlands for APS. There is also the advantage of assessing the habitat (e.g. water depths, vegetation cover, grazing regime) while birds are present, seeing if additional birds are there, are they breeding, and so on. 

For those of you that chose rewards as part of your donation, you can look forward to them arriving over the next few weeks. We have some lovely cards from wildlife artist, Judy Kirk, and a stunning image from renowned Australian wildlife photographer, David Stowe.

Best regards and thanks again for your wonderful support of these birds,

Matt Herring and the Tracking Australian Painted-snipe Team

Shining a light on one of the most mysterious species in the world.