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Why #WaterbirdsCount: August

Published on:
  • International Waterbird Census
  • Species

As part of our campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census, we invited our partners to share their favourite images of wetlands and waterbirds. August marks the start of southward migration for many waterbirds, as they leave breeding grounds for the long (sometimes very long!) journey to warmer southern climes. For those heading from the high arctic in Russia and Alaska to Asia or Australasia, one area in particular is of paramount importance: the Yellow Sea.

Largely enclosed by China and the Korean Peninsula, the inter-tidal mudflats of the Yellow Sea holds the most important waterbird staging sites in the flyway. The rich mud and shallow waters teem with small shellfish, crustaceans, fish and worms that will fuel the next stage of these epic waterbird migrations. Unfortunately, mudflats and waterbirds alike are vanishing fast as coastal and upstream development bite into wetlands or disrupt the natural processes that maintain them. What remains becomes ever more precious, “islands of refuge” in a disappearing landscape.

Many individuals, governments and organisations are working locally and internationally to halt further damage and safeguard the Yellow Sea for future generations. This blog is testament to their collective efforts. We are especially indebted to our colleagues and the networks of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, Birds Korea, the Spoonbill Sandpiper in China group, Birding Beijing and the Pūkorokoro Miranda Naturalists’ Trust for sharing photos for this month’s blog.