I’m just back from a few days break in northern Inner Mongolia. Mid-June is a wonderful time to visit with all of the breeding birds, most of which are migratory, back on territory and singing vigorously. One of the species I was keen to see and hear was the Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis 大杓鹬 Dà biāo yù), a species now classified as “Endangered” due to its rapidly declining population (it is thought to have declined by up to 80% in Australia, one of its main non-breeding grounds). Incidentally, despite its scientific name, it has never been recorded in Madagascar.
After several failed attempts, I was finally in the right place at the right time when a presumed male engaged in a wonderful, undulating, display flight over a wet meadow. As the sun set on a perfectly still evening, the sound sent shivers down my spine as it pierced the backing vocals from, among others, Common Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. Simply magical.
Wouldn’t the world be a poorer place if we lost this awe-inspiring bird?
2 thoughts on “Far Eastern Curlew in Inner Mongolia”
Terry, how fine that you saw them. Curlews are splendid. Your Eastern Madagascariensus (sic) sounds similar to the Whimbrels that come to my beach to roost in Nova Scotia and feast on the crow berries on the point every July. They are very faithful to their places.
Thank you, Jane. Yes, I agree.. curlews and whimbrels are special birds. And most of them are in trouble. I hope the Far Eastern Curlew avoids the fate of the Slender-billed and Eskimo Curlews.