Two new recruits join our satellite-tracking study

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This summer it became clear that only two of the tracking devices on the Sociable Lapwings fitted with tags in 2010 were still sending reliable signals. The tags still functioning are fitted to the male Abaj and the female Dinara and we received good signals from both of them, all summer, while they were still on their breeding grounds.

In order to increase our monitoring capability, two further female Sociable Lapwings were trapped and fitted with satellite-tracking devices in Central Kazakhstan this spring.

Giving the project’s tagged birds Kazakh names has now become a tradition and so, when ACBK project leader Ruslan Urazaliyev noticed that the two birds he had tagged displayed distinctly different plumage characteristics and behaviours, he realised they reminded him of his sister and cousin and named them Dina and Dana in their honour.

The first of the new Sociable Lapwings to be tagged was caught on the nest at Kaskatau (45 km to the south of Korgalzhyn) on May 21st at 09:34. As this individual had a particularly calm personality like his sister – Dina, Ruslan named the bird after her. Dina means faithful in Kazakh. Completely unruffled by the tagging procedure, Dina (carrying tracking device number 94966) soon returned to her nest and began incubating again straight away.

The second bird was caught and tagged in Amangeldy (18 km west of Korgalzhyn) on May 30th at 18:30 and is now carrying tag number 94965. She was initially thought to be a male because of her dark cap and breast though biometrics soon confirmed her as a female too. This bird was a little more nervous when she was handled and Ruslan decided to name her Dana after his cousin, which means wise in Kazakh. Despite being nervous in the hand, after tagging, she too soon returned to her nest and clutch of three eggs.

In the photo above you can see Ruslan releasing Dana next to her nest immediately after her satellite tag was attached.

Throughout the summer months Dinara (a female tagged in Central Kazakhstan in May 2010 and the first bird tracked to India) has been on territory a long way south of where she spent last summer – well to the south west of Karaganda.

Abaj also returned to summer in a different location to last year. He spend the breeding season near the village of Esil, some 200 km north west of where he was initially tagged.

Both Dina and Dana have spent the summer close to their breeding sites and their transmitters have been sending good, regular signals.

The study team made a return visit to Dina’s nest site on May 28th where they sadly found her nest had been predated. She stayed in the same area with a group of five other Sociable Lapwings and could possibly have made another nesting attempt. She was last seen there on June 8th.