by Vojtěch Kubelka

 During 20–24 November 2019 a successful ÉLVONAL Shorebird Science Fieldwork Training Camp How to study breeding shorebirds? took place in Cheetham Wetlands near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Smooth running of the course was assured by great logistical support from local team: Mike Weston, Kristal Kostoglou, Laura Tan and reserve rangers. The weather was favourable for most of the time as well and while training participants, we collected first ÉLVONAL data from Australia. We observed mostly courtship behaviour in detail and found dozens of nests at the beginning of incubation suggesting a coming peak in breeding activity for Red-capped Plovers (Charadrius ruficapillus). The exchange of knowledge and experience among participants during the workshop was smooth and productive. It was great, fruitful and stimulating meeting promoting future cooperation within and beyond ÉLVONAL framework.

Photo 1_fieldworkcamp Melbourne
Participants of the ÉLVONAL Shorebird Science Fieldwork Training Camp in Melbourne, from left to right: Vojtěch Kubelka, Mike Weston, Katherine Leung, Kateřina Žohová, Julia Ryeland, Laura Tan, Kristal Kostoglou, Maureen Christie, Steve Johnson and Mitch Burrows. Photo credit: Vojtěch Kubelka.


Photo 2_intro Mike
Detailed introductory presentations about ÉLVONAL project, used field methodologies and local area followed by the first discussions was a good preparation for the subsequent fieldwork. Photo credit: Vojtěch Kubelka.
Photo 3_cage and incubation monitoring
Nest predation is recently very intensive at Cheetham wetlands and only a small proportion of nests would survive until hatching without an effective direct protection with nest cages, successfully adopted by local team during last years. Setting a camera for incubation monitoring next to the protected nest is easier because it can be less camouflaged. Photo credit: Kateřina Žohová
Photo 4_trapping succesful
Mike’s team use walk-in traps for effective catching of adults on the nest. After the setting demonstration, a female was caught on this nest. Photo credit: Vojtěch Kubelka.