Thursday, 28 Jan 2021
An ongoing study has found that Barr al Hikman Wetlands Reserve in Mahout in Al Wusta is a lifeline for migratory birds specially the bar-tailed godwits with over 60,000 counted in 2016, representing 58–65 per cent of the flyaway population.

Bar-tailed godwits utilizing Barr al Hikman wetlands for repeat stopovers: Study

The study has, for the initial time, identified the migration routes, stopovers and breeding places of the subpopulations of the bar-tailed godwits subspecies Limosa lapponica taymyrensis wintering at Barr al Hikman. The study has revealed that the wetlands are utilized as repeat stopovers by the birds right after ten female bar-tailed godwits of the subspecies Limosa wintering at Barr al Hikman had been caught and fitted with 5g Solar Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTTs) in November 2015.

Bar-tailed godwits are identified to breed on the Arctic coasts and tundra in Europe and Asia and devote the winters on the coast of tropical and temperate regions such as the sultanate, Australia and New Zealand. From ringing and tracking information, the migration routes of virtually all subspecies are effectively identified with the notable exception of the population that winters about the shores of the Arabian Peninsula and Eastern Africa in the West Asia-East Africa shorebird flyway.

“The main objective was to monitor their movements from Argos satellite tracking system to reveal their previously unknown local movements and migration routes, including stopovers and breeding areas,” stated Dr Andy Kwarteng, director, Remote Sensing and GIS Centre, Sultan Qaboos University.

The job was component of The Research Council-sponsored project on ‘Remote Sensing and Geospatial Data Analysis of Barr Al Hikman Intertidal Ecosystem: Implications of Cascading Predator-prey Effects in a Pristine Seagrass-based Food Web’ by researchers from SQU and NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research.

The birds began the northward spring migration in 2016 in between February 29 and April 27 and travelled for 7,300-eight,300km to breeding places positioned south of Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, Russia. All the birds utilized previously unknown staging places on the east coast of the Caspian Sea or Aral Sea in Kazakhstan in the course of migrations.

The surviving birds returned to the Barr al Hikman region in between July 28 and August 23. “Presently, the PTTs on five birds which have done the migration three years in a row are transmitting data. We lost the other five birds during their migration. The five birds showed some consistency in their repeat northward and southward migrations routes and the use of the stopovers and staging areas in 2016, 2017 and 2018,” he stated.

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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