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MBZ Blog

Great knot: From Russia to UAE and back again

While on a bird watching trip to Umm Al Quwain in the north of the United Arab Emirates, a teacher at the British School Al Kubairat in Abu Dhabi spotted an Endangered wading bird with a leg band marked ‘E1’. After further investigation, it was discovered that the bird, a Great knot, had been ringed an astonishing 13,000 miles away by a scientist in Russia.

As it turned out, that scientist was none other than Dmitry Dorofeev, one of the MBZ Fund’s 2016 grant recipients who had conducted field work in the Kamchatka Peninsula. Specifically, Dmitry was investigating Khairusovo–Belogolovaya estuary, on the Western coast of Kamchatka, as a key location for protected wader species on the East Asian–Australasian migratory flyway.

During his fieldwork in the summer of 2016, Dmitry had ringed several wading bird species including many Great knots. It was thought that these birds migrated to Australia. It certainly was not expected to be spotted in the UAE.

But, it was and it’s the first documented case of the Great knot migrating from Russia to the UAE.

In another interesting turn in the great knot story, the bird with the leg band marked ‘E1’ was spotted again by Dmitry during his annual fieldwork in 2017. We will be searching for the bird during spring 2017 in Umm Al Quwain.

In the meantime, please have a look at our case study on the project, as well as a short film about the twists and turns of the Great Knot: