Further to the news that more than 400 Sociable Lapwings had been found at a stopover site in Uzbekistan in mid September, news has now reached us that at least some birds migrating along this ‘Eastern Flyway’ have reached the Indian Sub-continent.
This summer, scientists from ACBK (BirdLife in Kazakhstan) have been monitoring Sociable Lapwings again at their main study site in central Kazakhstan for the seventh year of a long term research project supported by RSPB, BirdLife International, Swarovski Optik and The UK Governments’ Darwin Initiative.
Each spring since April 2009, Nature Iraq has conducted ornithological survey expeditions in and around the vast arid western and central deserts of Iraq, hoping to find Sociable Lapwings that might be passing through the country on their northerly migration back to Kazakhstan.
In addition to the eyewitness reports we’ve received confirming Sociable Lapwing migration is now well underway; Abaj, Dina and Dana, three of the four birds we are satellite-tracking this autumn, have also begun their post-breeding migrations.
BirdLife International scientists monitoring migrating Sociable Lapwings in the heart of the Great Steppe have recently discovered the largest single flock seen in Kazakhstan since 1939.
In order to increase our monitoring capability, two further female Sociable Lapwings were trapped and fitted with satellite-tracking devices in Central Kazakhstan this spring.
A positive signal from Abaj received in a transmission made on April 14th confirms he has now made it safely back to his breeding grounds in central Kazakhstan, just north-west of Lake Tengiz.
Following a number of ambiguous signals over the past few weeks, we have just received confirmation that Dinara has made it back to southern Kazakhstan.
Omar Fadhil is an ecologist and wildlife photographer working for Nature Iraq.