Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
Jan van de Kam
160 pages, 228 x 285 mm
Each year, invisible to the naked eye, millions of migrating shorebirds fly from Australasia towards the tidal flats of the Yellow Sea bordering China and Korea.
Each flock is made up of individuals using whatever strategies they can muster to
endure the flights, weather the storms and find safe havens to rest and refuel on
their long journeys to the breeding grounds in Siberia or Alaska. Once there,
successful reproduction of as many individuals as possible is key to survival.
Shorebird migration is one of nature's most spectacular phenomena, creating
surprising and hitherto poorly understood links between countries, habitats and
people. Jan van de Kam's beautiful images, together with the compelling words of
his colleagues, illustrate the magnitude of the feats performed by migrating
shorebirds and the vital need for the connections that bind them to habitats to be
This book invites you to discover the risks inherent in a shorebird's migratory lifestyle
and the additional challenges created by expanding human populations. It reveals
the crucial role that the shoreline of the Yellow Sea plays in shorebird migration and
highlights the need for this unique and threatened habitat to be saved for future
generations of birds and people.
Important conservation issues linking USA, Asia and Australasia
Life histories of shorebirds explained by an international team of experts
A thorough explanation of why staging areas are so important to shorebirds, and why loss of tidal flat habitats in the Yellow Sea is the greatest threat faced by our shorebirds
1. Time is running out (Brian McCaffery)
2. Shorebird lifestyles (Phil Battley & Danny Rogers)
3. Flyways (Phil Battley)
4. The tundra (Brian McCaffery)
5. A southern holiday? (Danny Rogers)
6. Tidal flat specialists (Danny Rogers & Jae-Sang Hong)
7. International partnerships (Phil Battley)
8. The heart of the Flyway (Nial Moores & Ju Yung-Ki)
Planners and decision-makers in government environment departments
General public interested in bird life and photography
Buyers of coffee table natural history books
"... a remarkable job of assembling an impressive team of researchers to explain all aspects of the ecology and mechanics of the flyway. The technical discussions are then complemented by the most stunning set of wader photographs by Jan van de Kam that I have ever seen... I would recommend that we all make the effort to purchase a copy to provide as birthday or Christmas gifts to friends and family. Although it contains a wealth of scientific data it would make an excellent addition to the coffee table where it would highlight the exquisitely beautiful birds and the threats they face on the Australasian flyway."
Colin Rogers, South Australian Ornithologist, March 2011, Vol. 37(1), pp.46-47
"Invisible Connections is a beautifully illustrated plea on behalf of birds whose lives are linked to
the health of the Yellow Sea ecosystem, and whose migrations encompass more than half the
globe. Van de Kam’s photographs are arrestingly beautiful. Invisible Connections is a gem–and conservationists everywhere can only hope it has the desired effect.
Scott Weidensaul, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Vol 122, No 4, December 2010
"This wonderful book takes its energy and purpose from an urgent need to
conserve the tidal flats of the Yellow Sea...The photography in this book is both beautiful and thought provoking. Jan van de Kam has created a vivid, diverse portrayal of shorebird life." John Fanshawe, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Autumn 2010
"...a visually stunning exploration of the lives of the shorebirds that migrate annually along that Flyway. But it is not just a collection of photographs. Around images of migratory flocks, breeders on the tundra and 'wintering' flocks panting in the Australian sun, captions give great insights into the lives of these species."
B W Yalden, IBIS, Vol 152 2010
"The book certainly succeeds in its primary aims of illustrating the interconnectedness
of the habitats along the Flyway, and the necessity of urgent international co-operation
(since no single country hosts the entire life cycle of these species) in combating the threats to the Yellow Sea’s ability to support the many species which depend on it. For this reason I recommend Invisible Connections to anyone interested in waders, conservation issues, natural history, and so on. This book is well worth adding to your library."
David Hair, Linnean Society of NSW Newsletter, October 2010
"I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone looking for a beautifully-illustrated book about a multifaceted problem, which will also be very accessible and worthwhile for some of our less ornithologically-obsessed friends and family members."
Martijn van de Pol, EMU, Vol 110, 2010
"With Jan van de Kam’s stunningly beautiful photography throughout and with text by eight leading wader experts, this spectacular book is a feast for the eyes and the mind, but the message it conveys is very worrying. This is an inspiring book. I strongly recommend it."
Humphrey Sitters, International Wader Study Group Bulletin, Aug-Sep 2010
"Some people grow unaccountably excited upon seeing clusters of rather drab, indistinguishable birds gathered on the tidal flats. If you are not yet one of these people, you may be joining their ranks after reading this book. Eight experts write in enthralling detail about migratory waders, or shorebirds, and their lives and habitats along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Stunning and beautifully reproduced photographs…"
Wildlife Australia Magazine, Winter 2010
"...beautiful, highly-readable book…the book is also useful for birders who wish to improve their shorebird identification skills, with so many excellent photographs of birds in mixed flocks and in different phases of plumage."
The Bird Observer, August 2010
"Invisible Connections makes accessible the world of the wader. As a fledgling birder, the lives of these distantly drab, almost ‘invisible’ birds that feed on our shores was previously beyond my imagination. Now I understand the fascination. And when the waders next leave our coasts, I’ll be watching with renewed awe one of our planet’s greatest wildlife spectacles."
Chelsea Eaw, Wingspan, Spring 2010
"Giving everyone you know a copy is one way you can raise awareness of the vulnerability of our amazing shorebirds…"
Environs Kimberley, June 2010
Jan van de Kam is a Dutch wildlife photographer with a lifetime’s experience of photographing, filming and writing about plants, landscapes and animals, and an extensive list of publications to his name. In the past few years Jan has focussed primarily on shorebirds, spending considerable amounts of time photographing them at all stages of their worldwide migratory journeys.
Phil Battley is a zoology lecturer in the Ecology Group at Massey University, New Zealand. His main interests are in how birds manage to migrate vast distances and why individuals vary in their fuelling and migratory behaviour. Most of his work has been on knots (both Great and Red) and Bar-tailed Godwits in New Zealand and Australia, with satellite – and geolocator – tracking of godwits being a recent research focus.
Danny Rogers is a shorebird biologist for the Arthur Rylah Institute (Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, Australia), and chairs the scientific committee of the Australasian Wader Studies Group. His lifelong interest in shorebirds and how they choose their habitats intensified as he did a PhD on their ecology in north-western Australia, and he has since focussed on shorebird studies in coastal Victoria and South Korea, where he co-led the Saemangeum Shorebird Monitoring Program.
Brian McCaffery has studied Arctic-breeding birds for three decades. He worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service as the non-game biologist at Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge for twenty years, focusing primarily on shorebirds. Now serving as the refuge’s education specialist, he works with Native American students exploring careers in biology and brings international researchers and artists to the refuge to promote shorebird conservation through science and art.
Nial Moores is co-founder and Director of Birds Korea, a Korean-based organisation dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats in Korea and the wider Yellow Sea Eco-region. Birds Korea works for the conservation of birds and their habitats through research, education and public-awareness raising activities, consultation and collaboration, and well-focused advocacy. Nial has lived and breathed shorebird conservation for over fifteen years – first in Japan, and then South Korea where he has now lived for ten years, and is one of the most experienced field birders in Eastern Asia.
Jae-Sang Hong is a professor of benthic ecology in the Department of Oceanography at Inha University, South Korea, with a particular interest in the ecology of benthos on tidal flats. He has worked extensively in these habitats in the United States, Europe, Japan and, especially during the last three decades, on the South Korean coast, focussing on the problems of how benthic animals are influenced by habitat change.
Ju Yung-Ki is a conservation activist, with a life-long connection with the tidal flat systems of the west coast of South Korea. His interests are broad, and encompass the significance of these tidal flats from cultural and ecological perspectives. He works closely both with scientists, and with the fishing communities that make a living from the shallow seas and mudflats systems in and around Saemangeum.
Jan Lewis lives in Broome, NW Australia surrounded by shorebirds, and has close connections to Broome Bird Observatory and the research work undertaken in Roebuck Bay. She has travelled widely and has volunteered on a number of shorebird research projects, both on the Asian-Australasian Flyway and in West Africa. This is her first venture in text editing.
Theunis Piersma is an evolutionary biologist and leads research teams at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and the University of Gronigen. His studies focus on shorebird energetics, predator-prey relationships on tidal flats and the link between resource abundance and population dynamics in habitats as far ranging as the far northern tundra and the tidal flats of South America. Theunis has strong research links with Australia and New Zealand.