There have been 16,354 sightings of Australian flagged waders overseas up to 7th June 2010. These have come from 17 countries ranging from Siberia to Papua New Guinea and Alaska to Singapore, as shown in the attached table.
The very high number of sightings in New Zealand is the result of the huge interchange of Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits between eastern Australia and New Zealand. Many of these records relate to birds which have spent their first year in Australia and later moved to become residents (during the southern hemisphere summer/northern hemisphere winter) of New Zealand. It is also a reflection of the high level of keenness and expertise of New Zealand wader watchers.
The same is especially true of Hong Kong, where the Mai Po Marshes are a mecca for wader enthusiasts. A much wider variety of flagged Australian waders have been seen there, but the dominant species is Curlew Sandpiper. Sightings in Japan also relate to a good variety of species with Sanderling being the most numerous.
In contrast, Korean sightings are dominated by Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots, where almost the whole population of these species gathers in the Yellow Sea region on northward migration. In this context, the surprisingly low number of flag sightings in China is a reflection of the large coastline, the difficulties of getting close to waders along it, and the relative paucity of experienced wader watchers. Taiwan has been especially active in flag reporting during the last four years and here Red-necked Stints dominate, although there is a very wide spread of species.
In contrast, all the records from Alaska, USA, relate to a single species – the Bar-tailed Godwits which visit the east coast of Australia.
The relative lack of flag sightings from many countries of southern Asia may partly reflect the inaccessibility of wader areas in those countries and the lack of wader specialists, but, based on weight data it probably mainly derives from the fact that most species fly over this area without stopping on both northward and southward migration (e.g. northwest Australia to China non-stop, and vice versa).
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