Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea

Importance, threats and conservation status
Mark Barter
Wetlands International, 2002
ISBN 90 5882 009 2


A document such as this depends greatly on input and assistance from many people and organisations - including those planning and organising surveys, nature reserve managers, shorebird counters, data base managers, reviewers of the various drafts and funding agencies.

I wish to gratefully acknowledge those who've assisted with the fieldwork in China. Firstly, the Chinese nature reserve and university staff who spent countless hours on, and in, the mudflats counting shorebirds - in total more than 100 people over the years. Secondly, the nature reserve managements who welcomed us and helped greatly in the planning and organising of the surveys. Finally, the staff at Wetlands International - China, especially Chen Kelin and David Li, who performed the vital role of working with the nature reserves to "make it all happen". They performed miracles. Here I should also thank colleagues from Australia and New Zealand who accompanied me at various times - Dale Tonkinson, Jim Wilson and Adrian Riegen. Their skills and companionship helped enormously.

The inclusion of count information from South Korea has allowed the analysis to be expanded to include most of the Yellow Sea. I am indebted to the staff of the Avian Laboratory, Ministry of Environment, for making their very comprehensive data set available and I also thank them for allowing me to join them on one of their surveys during which I was able to get a good understanding of the shorebirds and the sites they use in that country. Nial Moores, of Wetlands and Birds Korea, has also been very helpful with both count data and comment on conservation issues in South Korea.

Additional unpublished count information for the Chang Jiang Estuary was supplied by Dr Lu Jian Jian of East China Normal University, for the Tianjin region by Ms. Zhang Shu Pin of Beijing Normal University and for Shi Jiu Tuo (Happy Island) by a number of visiting bird watchers. I thank them all for making their data available. I'm also very grateful for the assistance from staff at the United Nations Development Programme and the Asian Development Bank with provision of project documents which provided much useful information on environmental issues in the Yellow Sea and on the ways they are being addressed.

I am particularly grateful to all those who provided comments on drafts of this monograph - Dave Allen, Axel Braunlich, Geoff Carey, Mike Crosby, Jason Ferris, Bob Gill, Ken Gosbell, David Melville, Trixi Madon, Nial Moores, Theunis Piersma, Adrian Riegen, Danny Rogers, Pavel Tomkovich, Lew Young, Wang Tian Hou and Jim Wilson. Their contributions helped immensely in improving the document in many ways.

I hope that the Chinese and Korean summaries will be of assistance in communicating the main outcomes of the analysis to non-English speakers around the Yellow Sea, and I am very grateful to David Li and Ms. Kim Su Kyung for their translations.

Doug Watkins, of Wetlands International - Oceania, has been a tower of strength all the way through - from project conception at the 1995 Consultative Meeting of the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, when the idea of providing training in shorebird ecology in Chinese nature reserves was first mooted, through continuing logistical and moral support during the ensuing years and, finally, to his assistance in reviewing various drafts of the document and playing the pivotal role in laying out and organising the final publication.

My wife, Terry, has been very understanding of the many, many hours that have been spent in the production of this monograph. I thank her for her forbearance. Also, I am very grateful to our daughter, Karen, whose word processing skills helped greatly in improving the layout of the document

And finally, but no means least, thanks to the Australian Government (through Environment Australia and AusAID) for funding all the training and survey activities in China via the Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (Shorebird Action Plan). They also funded the South Korean report that collated the count data from that country. Without their support this document could not have been produced.

I hope that everybody involved, in whatever way, is satisfied that this monograph is a constructive outcome from their combined efforts.