1st banded Spoon-billed Sandpiper spotted in Hainan

By Ding Xin / hicn.cn / Updated: 16:29,30-November-2021

On November 4, the Hainan Danzhou Bay Bird Protection Team observed the first Spoon-billed Sandpiper visit this winter. On November 24, Shen You,the president of the Chengdu Bird Watching Society, spotted a Spoon-billed Sandpiper with a bird band on its right leg in Danzhou Bay. This is the first time that a Spoon-billed Sandpiper with a band has been spotted in Hainan, an occasion that carries great significance for the study of the populations and habits of endangered birds around the world.

Banded Spoon-billed Sandpiper spotted in Hainan / SHEN YOU

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) is a small wader with a body measuring 14 to 16 cm. long. It breeds in northeastern Russia and winters in Southeast Asia. This species is listed as Critically Endangered due to its extremely small and rapidly declining population.

“This was the first time I’ve photographed this species, and I’m very excited,” said Shen You, who was guided by Chen Zhengping, captain of the Danzhou Bay Bird Conservation Team in Hainan. They found a total of 4 Spoon-billed Sandpipers on the beach after low tide. Shen was surprised when he checked the photos afterwards and found that one of the birds was banded.

Banded Spoon-billed Sandpiper spotted in Hainan / SHEN YOU

What does this bird band labeled “C2” stand for? Bird banding is an important method used globally to study migratory birds' migration dynamics. According to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Protection Agency SBS in China, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper wearing the white C2 band was artificially hatched in Chukotka, Russia on July 6, 2021, and was released into the wild on July 26. The last time it was photographed by scientists at the breeding site was August 2nd. Before it was seen in Danzhou Bay on November 24, it had not been spotted elsewhere.

"Spoon-billed Sandpipers have relatively high requirements for their living environment, with abundant food and a vast habitat," said Lu Gang, director of the Haikou Duotan Wetland Research Institute. Has this banded Spoon-billed Sandpiper come to Danzhou Bay to spend the winter, or was it just stopping by? It remains to be seen.



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