Bee and I have spent two of the last three winters doing ornithological work in Australia. As you can imagine we have met some extremely interesting people along the way. Not least of these was Amellia 'Earhart' Formby, otherwise known as Millie, who in 2022 will be flying a microlight from Australia to Siberia to raise awareness of the plight of the millions of migratory birds that use the East Asian - Australasian flyway (EAAF). These little (actually one of them is the largest shorebird in the world!) 'shorebirds', or waders as we call them, face a major threat along their migration route, namely reclemation of the intertidal areas, which they use like petrol stations, on their epic journey through South East Asia and the Yellow Sea.
|Millie (right) and yours truely ringing waders in Australia in 2016|
|A huge variety of shorebirds use the extremely important EAAF|
For the birds this is an annual return migration approaching (for some) 30,000km. The journey becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, when the 'petrol stations' close and they can't fuel up along the way. For the Spoon-billed Sandpiper this may well be just one last nail in the coffin and it may well drive yet more species towards extinction.
|Degraded habitat around the Yellow Sea|