A migratory miracle!
‘Their Future is Our Future’ is the theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2017, on 10 May.
On 25 March 2017, on the beach of a small fishermen’s village called Modhava near Mandvi, Kutch, photographers Jaysukh Parekh ‘Suman’ and son, Nirav Parekh did the inconceivable. Out of thousands of birds, they found and documented the one particular wader that they had been searching for! The Greater Sand Plover flagged ‘TA’ had survived another year and made the return journey once again.
Colin Jackson, A Rocha Kenya’s Scientific Director reports, ‘It was remarkable that the Greater Sand Plover flagged “TA” was photographed on Modhava Beach for the first time back in 2015. Not only was this the first foreign recovery of this species ringed in East Africa, it was also one of the longest-surviving Greater Sand Plovers that we’ve ringed, dating back to 2004. It was photographed again on the same beach almost exactly a year later which alone is extraordinary and gave sufficient evidence of a hitherto unknown migration route. So for it to be found yet again the third year running is almost unbelievable! We’ve recorded very few migrant birds for three years running on their regular non-breeding grounds at Mida Creek in Watamu, so to achieve this at a stop-over site 4,000 km away is exceptional. Clearly Modhava Beach is an important staging post for these long-distance travellers and thus of great importance for their survival.’
Our thanks go to Suman and Nirav for their tenacity, and to all who support A Rocha’s long-term monitoring and research. Discoveries such as these are only possible because of you!
Jackson C. H. W. (2016). Clues towards the migration route for Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers spending the non-breeding season in Kenya. Biodiversity Observations 7(36), 1–8.