Flying for Life

Flying for their lives:

‘Every year, millions of shorebirds fly between Australasia and the Arctic. But for many, this will be their last flight…’

Take an extraordinary journey along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with Ann Jones.

Article and images at

The strangeness of flight:

…You stand there
by the strangeness…
…you stare like an animal into
the blinding clouds
with the snapped chain of your life,
the life you know:
the deeply affectionate earth,
the familiar landscapes
slowly turning
thousands of feet below.

from Flying by Mary Oliver


Go Girls!

Puzzling Grey Plovers:


‘…We know that Grey Plovers migrate an amazing 12,000km to breed in northern Siberia and Alaska during the northern summer and return to spend our summer in Australia… However nearly all the population in Australia is female which makes their migration even more mysterious. Why do females migrate to Australia, but males apparently don’t?

…We aim to use satellite tracking to find out some of the answers to these questions.’

grey plover track

These images and more information at:

Practising the art of the possible:

Help the tracking project take flight with crowd-funding for Grey Plovers until 9 June 2015. See


Another plover:

A willing hostage to elusiveness, I crane

and peer: Look – a spotted redshank – rare!

whispers my guide; And there, a golden plover.

We trawl the wetlands with a light tread; in thrall to

unglimpsed wings, watched by quicksilver eyes.

from Bird-Watching by Diane Fahey

Read the poem at

Fly-bys flock to India

Feeding birds in Kerala

Lesser Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone and Whimbrel seen at Ezhara Beach, Kerala 21 November 2014

Grey Plover, Kerala

Grey Plover, Kerala

‘You’ve probably seen the Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) and not paid it any attention. Singly or in little flocks, these little birds stroll on sandy beaches looking for tiny nibbles in the sand. Every winter, they arrive in droves to the coast of Kerala…’

 Text and image at


Ringed plover by a water’s edge

They sprint eight feet and –

stop. Like that. They

sprintayard (like that) and


They have no acceleration

and no brakes.

Top speed’s their only one.

They’re alive – put life

through a burning-glass, they’re

its focus – but they share

the world of delicate clockwork.

In spasmodic

Indian file

they parallel the parallel ripples.

When they stop

they, suddenly,

are gravel.

by Norman MacCaig

Fishing people in Kerala


 Image at

Watch traditional fishing in Kerala


On display and on the way

On display: The Flyway Print Exchange 8-28 September 2014

See wings on the walls at Melbourne’s No Vacancy Gallery:


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Information about the idea and the artists at and

More about the printing process and the paper at



On the way:

In Australia spring has sprung and migratory birds are heading back via Southeast Asia to escape the northern winter. Early birds arrived at Sungei Buloh in Singapore in late July; others have arrived since.

‘Hi All Wader Lovers,

Since the arrival of the Common Redshanks at SBWR on 28th July ( reported by David Li) followed by other shorebirds like the Common Greenshanks, Whimbrels and Lesser Sand Plovers, we had to wait until the last day of August to welcome the uncommon Black-tailed Godwits to the main pond. There were eight.
The Asian Dowitcher, Grey-tailed Tattler and the Terek Sandpiper were missing after making a one day appearance. But more Curlew Sandpipers turned up, some still in their partial breeding plumage.
Time to bring out your scopes and tele lenses and try to pick out the expected but less common Broadbilled Sandpipers, Great Knots, Ruddy Turnstones…’
A crowd of Common redshanks at Sungei Buloh

A crowd of Common Redshanks at Sungei Buloh

Notes by Alan Owyong to Wildbird Singapore:

Birds, feathers

Red caps Morley 26 Dec

Morley Beach is all glinting shallows today. It’s a long way from Pak Thale, where Flightpath: Thailand will make landfall in a few weeks.

Morley Beach is part of wide and wild Wilson Inlet near Denmark, on Western Australia’s south coast; here are muddy sandflats fringed with samphire groundcover and paperbark forest. Pak Thale is on the busy waters of the Gulf of Bangkok;  there, there are saltpans, mudflats, mangroves. For migratory shorebirds, both places offers a rest and refuelling stop on their annual long-haul flight.

feet and boots

A solitary greenshank calls alarm and takes off. Small flocks of resident red-capped plovers run and stop, run and stop along the receding waterline. Summer visitors are arriving –  at the moment there are sharp-tailed sandpipers, greater sand plovers, tiny red-necked stints. For the next few weeks they will rest, feed and bulk-up here, before developing breeding plumage and beginning the long journey, via the countries of the East Asian-Australasian flyway, back to their Arctic nesting grounds together.

My Great Aunt by Roland Leach

My great aunt was always looking for a husband.

She had a few and left them all. Attracted to water,

the distance it offered. She was good at loving

from a distance. My great aunt was always looking.

She was a good looker. Took a steamer out of

Liverpool for the islands of the East, imagining

them still as spice islands. Took men of all creed and colour.

Didn’t mind a risk my great aunt, could always find

a racetrack. Fell in love with a young naturalist on board,

grey-coated and too occupied with the flight of birds

to notice her. She liked that. Didn’t like fawning men.

Just attracted to water and distance.

She had her way though. Lured the poor man

in dresses soft as butterfly wings, the colour of macaws,

pretending she was in flight, which she was.

back stump web