[Others 其他] Summary of Engraved Leg Flag resightings

Summary of Engraved Leg Flag resightings

It has now been 5 years since we started using the engraved leg flags (ELF) on shorebirds in Hong Kong. I have often had people ask about the findings, and I thought that since today is World Shorebirds Day, it would be a good opportunity to share a summary of some results.

The first summary, attached here, gives the number of birds of each species flagged with ELFs with a summary of the number of resightings and the extremes in terms of time and distance.

You may notice from this that certain species get more resightings than others. We generally have a better resighting rate for larger species (because the flags are easier to see and read) and for species that overwinter in Hong Kong (so are more likely to be seen here). So, we have very good reporting rates for species like Grey Plover and Eurasian Curlew, and very low for stints.

Several species are still being resighted years after being flagged. The current record for the longest duration is for a Redshank, perhaps because good numbers of this species were flagged in the first year. I have noticed that the flags on some species are starting to wear off, which may limit how long we can record some individuals, even if the birds survive longer.


ELF resighting summary.pdf (79.38 KB)

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This summary includes the country where birds have been resighted. As expected, most resightings of Hong Kong flags come from Hong Kong, but we also get a good number of sightings in Mainland China and Australia, with a few in other locations.

The most exciting observation for me has been the report of a Pacific Golden Plover in the Marshall Islands. For those that don't know, these islands are located in the central Pacific, about 6,000km east of Hong Kong. It seems likely that this bird was flagged on northward migration to Siberia or Alaska, and then migrated the following year to winter on these islands (or perhaps even continued to Australia). Before this sighting, we ha no idea that Hong Kong was connected to the islands in this way.

Some species have shown stopovers in the Yellow Sea, especially around Bohai Bay. We have had resightings here for Curlew Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Pied Avocet and Eurasian Curlew. Other species may also stop in the area.

South of Hong Kong, there have been resightings from around Broome in northwest Australia for Greater Sand Plover, Curlew Sandpiper ad Terek Sandpiper. Some have returned each year. Of course, we also get quite a few resighting of Australian-flagged birds in Hong Kong. We have also had several observations of birds from Hong Kong in Malaysia and Indonesia, including Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Common Redshank - showing that HK is a stopover also for birds wintering in southeast Asia.


ELF country summary.pdf (78.73 KB)

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