Latham’s Snipe Project

Latham’s Snipe Project

The Latham’s Snipe project is a collaborative research program with Federation University in Ballarat and the South Beach Landcare Group in Port Fairy, along with partners from Japan and the ACT including the ACT Government, University of Canberra, the Bird and Bat Banding Scheme and Canberra Ornithologists Group. The project focuses on a combination of traditional field-based research, eResearch and community engagement for the purpose of understanding the birds, their critical habitats and ways to manage those habitats given competing land use interests. Collaboration and knowledge exchange between land holders, community members, government agencies and researchers is essential to improve management of wetland habitat (and that for other migratory waterbird species). To this end, ultimately the Latham’s Snipe project aims to identify critical habitats and work with land managers to improve land use practices and encourage reservation of these areas. There are many questions regarding which wetlands are used, locally and regionally.  In the ACT context there is good data on the occurrence of Snipe at Jerrabomberra Wetlands, but whether other important sites exist in the ACT is uncertain.

Snipe
Photo: courtesy of Geoffrey Dabb

Tracking Latham’s Snipe

The Latham’s Snipe project will combine new data collection by satellite tracking a minimum of four birds, in conjunction with existing monitoring data, environmental data and unpublished community data. If funding becomes available the number of birds to be tracked will increase. Information from these different sources will be combined in a web-based biodiversity knowledge management system. This system will enable visualisation of the most up-to-date data relating to snipe and wetlands in a platform accessible to the public. This will also enable crowd-sourcing of community data through simple web-based mapping tools. Using this eResearch approach, whereby web-based tools are used to source, visualise and analyse data in a publically-accessible platform, evidence pertaining to the efficacy of biodiversity conservation and land management efforts can be rapidly compiled. The advantage of this approach is that it delivers more long-term prospects for managing data and seeking community engagement with the project objectives.

Satellite tracking has been chosen as a preferred methodology  as other methods such as banding and geolocation have proven to be either unsuccessful or unproven as yet, as birds require re-sighting or re-capture (something which is difficult to achieve). Although Snipe have not been tracked by satellite previously, similar examples with other bird species exist such as the ‘Robbie the Bittern’ project.

For detailed information on the Latham’s Snipe Project go to:

http://www.swifft.net.au/cb_pages/lathams_snipe_project.php

 

Photo: courtesy of Geoffrey Dabb