Japan Wetlands Action Network


Shorebirds heading for breeding in Arctic region are presently staying over in t idal flats and wetlands in Japan, Korea, and China. Among them, you can see bir ds from north west Australia with yellow flags on one of their legs. Supposedly , thousands of them are on coastal shorelines in Japan!

Shorebirds, a group of migratory birds such as Plovers, Sandpipers,Curlews, etc. ,migrates twice every year between their breeding ground in the Arctic region an d their "wintering" ground in southern hemisphere. After wintering all over in Australia or in New Zealand, they have left the continent in late March and Apri l. Flying several thousand kilometers without rest from the shores of Australia , they stop over on the tidal flats and wetlands in East Asian countries. They are taking rest and are getting their nutrition, or fat, for the rest of their j ourney to breed in Siberia and Alaska and China.

In March and April this year, concurrently with the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habi tat (Ramsar Convention) held in Brisbane, Australia, ornithologists and amateurs gathered to an expedition in north west Australia (North West Australia Wader E xpedition 1996). The Expedition is to get data on shorebirds before leaving for their northward migration for breeding. Its objective is to facilitate for the protection of the birds and of their habitats, internationally. Including six from Russia, and nine from Japan (I was one of them), the participants came from all over the world.

The expedition caught 8,135 shorebirds and released them with identification rin g and yellow leg flags on their right tibia. The top species are Bar-tailed God wits, Great Knots, and Red-necked Stint. Large Sand Plovers, Terek Sandpipers, Red Knots, Grey-tailed Tattlers, and Curlew Sandpipers were in considerable numb er. A flag is very small, only of 5 mm square. In other states in Australia an d New Zealand they attach colours like green, orenge, and white. Blue, purple, brown and white flags are attached at several places in Japan. It gives informa tion on migration route. The flag is remarkable, and is clearly visible with bi noculars or telescopes. So when you see a shorebird with yellow flag, you know the bird was in North West Australia.

If you happen to see one of them, be sure to report to the following address in Japan, please! It is a very important information to protect the birds, and als o for the conservation of their habitats, which are also very important to us, h uman beings.

ADDRESS:Yamashina Institute of Ornithology
115 Koyasan, Abiko-shi, Chiba 270-11, JAPAN
Tel/Fax: (+81)-471-82-4342

Date: year / month / day
Name of Observer:
Contact Address:
Tel/Fax:e-mail address:
Date of Observation: year / month / day
Location of Observation: Site Name / City, Town, Village
Species Name:
Number of Birds with Flag:
Maturity of Birds: Adult / Juvenile / Unknown
Plumage: Summer / Intermediate / Winter
Type of Marking: Leg Ring (Metal Ring / Leg Flag / Colour Ring)
 Tag / Stain / Other
Colour of Marking:
Location of Marking: Tarsus / Tibia / Wing / Breast / Belly
     Left / Center/Right
Availability of Photographic Evidence:
Remarks: (Composition of Flock etc.):

Japan Wetlands Action Network