Our tagged Sociable Lapwings, Tesfaye and Maysa have both spent the winter in Pakistan since arriving in October. The importance of Pakistan as a wintering area for Sociable Lapwings on the eastern flyway is not clear, but we have been fortunate to receive a project grant from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund to investigate this further. Mr Saleem Khan of the Saiban Foundation and his team have recently undertaken the first of a series of surveys using the satellite tag locations of Tesfaye and Maysa. The surveys have focussed on the Balochistan and Sindh provinces of southern Pakistan.
We are delighted to report that during the first round of surveys in December and January the team located a flock of 200 birds in agricultural fields near Daddu in Sindh. The team also located a flock of sociable lapwings near Khairpur Nathan Shah, which later moved northward to Jaffarabad district of Balochistan. The team is further investigating the location near Usta Muhammad city of Balochistan. Video footage shows the birds using winter wheat fields and appear very tolerant of nearby agricultural labourers. This sighting of such a large flock is the largest seen on the wintering grounds. Although birds can gather in large groups on migration, such as in Turkey, Syria, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, they usually disperse in to smaller flocks when they reach the wintering areas.
Surveys will be repeated in the coming weeks and the project team will initiate some awareness raising activities with local communities to highlight the plight of the Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing, and how important it is to protect them. We’ll provide another update on the work in Pakistan in the near future.
Many thanks to the MBZ Species Conservation Fund for supporting this project.