Getting a handle on Spoon-billed Sandpipers ??? one of the world???s rarest birds

Written by British Trust for Ornithology

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper, one of the world???s most threatened birds, could be rapidly heading towards extinction. The latest research outlines why, and what we can do to save this enigmatic species.

Evidence from the breeding area indicates that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper declined by 88% between 2002 and 2009, making this one of the most rapidly declining birds in the world. British scientists have been involved in finding out why this might be and have just published their findings in two scientific papers.

The entire breeding population, found in Russia???s far north-west numbered around 1,000 pairs in 2002. This had dropped to 120-220 pairs by 2009. No changes were found in adult survival over the same period and parents fledged chicks in each year. However, the recruitment of these young birds back into the adult population was zero in all but one of the years studied.

Observations from wintering areas confirm the declining trend observed in the breeding areas but until recently little was known about the wintering areas of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The rapid decline of this species resulted in expeditions to possible wintering areas to find out more. In both 2009 and 2010 around 200 birds were found wintering in the Bay of Martaban, Myanmar, constituting most of the known world population.

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Urgent action is needed to find ways to give the local hunters economic alternatives to hunting.

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There was extensive evidence of the hunting of waders in all the sites visited, the majority of hunters encountered knew of Spoon-billed Sandpiper and probably caught them every year. For a species with such a small known breeding population, it is likely that hunting in the wintering area is the major cause of the species??? decline, exacerbated by the fact that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper???s core wintering area happens to be in an area of high hunting pressure.

Dr Nigel Clark, Head of Projects at the British Trust for Ornithology and a scientist on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper expeditions, commented, ???Urgent action is needed to find ways to give the local hunters economic alternatives to hunting. An awareness campaign will also help to persuade hunters to release Spoon-billed Sandpipers they catch. It is also vitally important to protect the habitats of the Bay of Martaban. Without urgent conservation action, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper could become extinct within 10???20 years.???

Christoph Zockler, Lead Author on both papers, said, ???Both papers illustrate the critical state of the species that will be extinct in the next decade or so if the rate of decline continues. Fortunately the expeditions during the two winters found what is probably the main wintering population in the world, in Myanmar, and we are confident that we can address the threats caused by hunting and trapping there.??? He added, ???There is some hope. Local people in Myanmar hunting waders for food are keen to cooperate with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Team and find alternatives. This will help to halt the current state of rapid decline.???

?? Wader World

Notes for editors

1. The scientific papers
Rapid and continued population decline in the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus indicates imminent extinction unless conservation action is taken. Zockler et al., was carried out in the breeding season and looked at the pressures Spoon-billed Sandpipers faced then.

To view a summary of this paper http://journals.cambridge.org/spoonbilledsandpiper

Hunting in Myanmar is probably the main cause of the decline of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmeus. Zockler et al., studied them on their winter grounds.

To view a pdf of this paper visit http://www.bto.org???? It was recently published in the journal of the International Wader Study Group. www.waderstudygroup.org

2. Hunting has a greater effect on young birds. After leaving the areas they were hatched, young birds spend the whole of their first year in the wintering areas and are therefore far more susceptible to hunting than the adults that return to the breeding areas for the northern summer. Anecdotal evidence points to increased hunting pressure on waders during the monsoon season, as fishing is difficult in these conditions. The monsoon season is between May and September, the period the adults are on the breeding grounds.

3. Concerted international conservation action is essential if this species is to avoid extinction. This requires (i) improved understanding of the main wintering and staging areas and associated threats; (ii) addressing those threats that can be tackled with immediate effect, such as hunting; (iii) continued long-term monitoring on the breeding areas; (iv) an exploration of other potential breeding areas; (v) conservation action at all important stop-over and wintering sites along the entire flyway and (vi) consideration of a captive-breeding programme to ensure the survival of this species.

4. The BTO is the UK???s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO???s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO???s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

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Colour Ringed Red Knots

Written by Richard Smith/Dee Estuary Birding

Although numbers can vary greatly from day to day, let alone from winter to winter, the Red Knot is generally regarded as one of the most numerous waders on the Dee Estuary and North Wirral coast. Globally, there are six sub-species of Red Knot but, apart from the odd vagrant, we only get Calidris canutus islandica here. These winter almost exclusively on the Wadden Sea and estuaries of the British Isles with smaller numbers on the north and west coasts of France. They breed in Greenland and north-east Canada. It is thanks to ringing that we know all this, and colour ringing in particular has transformed our knowledge of this species.

The movements and migrations of birds has always fascinated me and it is particularly pleasing that, thanks to colour ringing, myself and some like minded enthusiasts have been able to contribute in a small way to the sum of this knowledge, as well as being able to find out within a matter of days the movements of particular birds we have observed.??

The winter just gone, 2009/10 was a particularly good one for ringed knots as we were able to record eight, bringing the total since 2006 to 11 – they are tabulated below in order of ringing date.

Knot No.?????????????? Date Ringed?????? Ringing Location?????? Date seen on Dee Estuary?????? Location
1?????? 12/6/03?????? Alert, Ellesmere Island, Canada?????? 11/12/07?????? Hoylake Shore
2?????? 23/7/04?????? ??De Richel, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 20/12/06?????? Meols Shore
3?????? 23/7/04?????? ??De Richel, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 20/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
4?????? 10/3/05?????? ??Griend, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 5/3/10?????? Hoylake Shore
5?????? 23/8/06?????? ??Simonszand, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 12/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
6?????? 16/5/07?????? ??Porsangerfjord, north Norway?????? 12/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
7?????? 18/5/07?????? ??Stufhusen, Wadden Sea, Germany?????? 9/1/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
8?????? 7/6/07?????? Alert, Ellesmere Island, Canada?????? 12/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
9?????? 27/9/08?????? ??Schiermonnikoog, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 1/11/08?????? Hoylake Shore
10?????? 27/9/08?????? ??Schiermonnikoog, Wadden Sea, Netherlands?????? 12/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore
11?????? 26/5/09?????? ??Porsangerfjord, north Norway?????? 20/2/10?????? Thurstaston Shore

Knot--ringssteveround

The colour ringed bird above (?? Steve Round) is Knot number one in the table above. Note the white ‘flag’ high up on the left tibia which denotes it as being a Canadian ringed bird.

Knotrs1

The photo shows Knot number two (?? Richard Smith).

The two maps below show the locations where the 11 different birds were ringed, seven of which were on the Wadden Sea. This is a huge area stretching from the island of Texel (just north of Amsterdam) all the way to south west Denmark – it’s the equivalent of having six Washes strung together – and is hugely important for numerous wader and wildfowl species, particularly as a moulting area. It must be a wonderful place to both watch and ring birds; for example, Griend (where bird four was ringed) is an uninhabited island and nature reserve which has 10,000 pairs of Sandwich Terns nesting!

Europeknot

The map below shows the routes which C. c. islandica birds take during the spring migration – details of which have been established due to ringing. The total population of islandica is currently estimated to be around 400,000, about 70% of these move to the Wadden Sea to moult around mid-March, the rest staying in large British estuaries such as the Ribble and the Wash. They stay here until late April or early May when they then move to staging areas which are in Iceland and northern Norway. They then stay at these staging areas for about three weeks before finally moving to their breeding grounds in Greenland and Canada. When I first realised that some of ‘our’ birds go via northern Norway I though that it seemed a long way round to get to Canada but for birds breeding on Ellesmere Island, for example, it is actually an easier route as it avoids the birds having to fly over or around Greenland. As you can see at least some of our birds do use this Norway route, and two were ringed at Alert in Canada, just five hundred miles from the North Pole!??????

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Maps kindly provided by University of Texas Libraries (arrows, numbers etc. added by the author).

Sources of information for this article:
1. Fellow colour ring enthusiasts John Jakeman and Matt Thomas, and photographers Steve Round and Richard Steel.
2. Bernard Spaans (Netherlands), Jim Wilson (Norway) and Guy Morrison (Canada) – thanks in particular to these three for being so prompt with their ringing data plus a lot of extra and very interesting information, and everyone else involved in the Knot colour ringing schemes.
3. Simon Delany et al., An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia, Wetlands International, 2009.

Please E-mail me if you see a colour ring Red Knot, or any other wader, usually I can get the data back to you within a week or two. Note that all the Red Knots have flags (rings with tabs) and it is very important to note the location of the flag in relation to the other rings. Norway ringed birds have a yellow flag with three letters which must be noted.

Banded Stilts breeding at Lake Eyre

Department for Environment and Heritage News Release

The Department for Environment and Heritage (DEH) has confirmed that a colony of about 5,000 Banded Stilts is breeding on an island in Lake Eyre National Park in the South Australian outback.

DEH regional ecologist Alex Clarke said it is the first time since 2000 that the water bird species, which is considered vulnerable in South Australia, has bred at Lake Eyre. ???Trevor Wright, who operates an outback charter plane service for tourists, first noticed the colony a few weeks ago,??? he said. ???We really appreciate his help in keeping an eye out for Banded Stilts and other bird species when he???s flying over the area.

???Based on the information Trevor provided, DEH staff flew over Lake Eyre and confirmed the presence of the Banded Stilts, which are currently incubating thousands of eggs.???

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???There have been only seven breeding events that have occurred in South Australia in the past 70 years.???

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???I estimate that between 6,000 and 7,500 chicks could fledge from the colony, which will provide a much needed boost to the Banded Stilt population.??? Mr Clarke said Banded Stilts can sense when inland salt lakes such as Lake Eyre are filling, and they migrate from their coastal non-breeding habitats, such as the Coorong, to the inland lakes to feast on their preferred food source, brine shrimp, which become abundant during flooding.

???How the Banded Stilts know when inland salt lakes are filling is not well understood,??? he said. ???However, we know that breeding on the lakes is essential if they are to maintain a healthy population. ???There have been only seven breeding events that have occurred in South Australia in the past 70 years.???

???The total population of Banded Stilts in Australia is between 200,000 and 300,000, so breeding events such as the one currently taking place make a significant contribution to the conservation of the species.???

For information about visiting Lake Eyre National Park, go to www.parks.sa.gov.au.

Source: Birds Of Australia/Shorebirds 2020

WorldWaders Shorebird List of the World: a summary of taxonomic changes of shorebirds from the past few years

Written by Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders

Using WorldWaders database requires a little understanding about the changes of taxonomic order and names as well as species status of shorebirds of the world. The mess in the naming of birds and using the order is almost impossible to follow and comparing two different taxonomic systems is a real challenge. Every organisation, scientific board or book author can decide which bird list and nomenclature will be used. We at WorldWaders have also decided to use one system consequently (with a very few expections).

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) provides a checklist of birds of the world and updates it as new information is available on the taxonomy of any bird species of the world. Shorebirds are not the most critical part of the world birds in terms of frequent taxonomical changes but in in the past few years some major revisions on naming and some splitting has been published.

Kentishplover

?? Szabolcs K??kay/K??kayArt

Here I provide a short summary of the changes what not every WorldWaders usermight be?? aware of.

Splits

Indian Stone-curlew Burhinus indicus (indicus race of Eurasian Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus raised to species level) ??? Range: India and Sri Lanka to Indochina; winters to Africa and Arabia

White-headed Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus (leucocephalus race of Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus raised to species level) ??? Range: Indonesia to Australia and New Zealand; winters to the Philippines
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus (mexicanus and knudseni race of Black-winged Stilt raised to species level) ??? Range: mexicanus – W and s US to e Ecuador, sw Peru and ne Brazil; winters to West Indies; knudseni – Hawaiian Islands
White-backed Stilt Himantopus melanurus (melanurus race of Black-winged Stilt raised to species level) ??? Range: North Chile and e-central Peru to se Brazil and c Argentina

Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus (nivosus and occidentalis race of Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus raised to species level) ??? Range: nivosus – US to Mexico and West Indies, winters to Panama; occidentalis – Coastal Peru to s-central Chile

Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula australis (australis race of Greater Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis raised to species level) ??? range: Australia

Snares Snipe Coenocorypha huegli (huegli race of Subantarctic Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica raised to species level) ??? Range: Snares Islands (Northeast, Broughton and Alert Stack)

Species not yet aproved but appears in the WorldWaders list

Hudsonian Curlew or Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus (hudsonicus race of Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus will possibly be split) ??? Range: Alaska to North Canada; winters to south South America.

White-faced Plover Charadrius ssp. (status of an undescribed plover species from se Asia is under investigation) ??? Range: se Asia

Species are out of the list of shorebirds due to probable extinction

??? Javan Lapwing Vanellus macropterus (possibly extinct; last seen around 1920)
??? South Island Snipe Coenocorypha iredalei (extinct; posthumous split from Subantarctic Snipe Coenocorypha aucklandica)

??? Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis (possibly extinct; last confirmed record is from 1963)
??? Tahiti Sandpiper Prosobonia leucoptera (extinct by introduced rats in the late 18th century)

Those changes should be taken into consideration when submitting a record to WorldWaders database. As the world shorebird list is reduced to every georegion Black-winged Stilt will not appear in the list for Australia. White-headed Stilt will be there instead.

In some cases the english names and even scientific names has been changed. For checking the correct names go through the IOC checklist for shorebirds and allies. Among the many changes Diademed Sandpiper Plover is now named as Diademed Plover and family name of the tattlers has been changed from Heteroscelus to Tringa as well as of Willet’s family name from Catoptrophorus to Tringa.

Speculations of future splits are always in the topic of different discussions (best source of those discussions are on the birdforum). Just naming a few of them:

Monotypic Grey Plover to be split. American Arctic birds are supposed to be morphologically different from the Eurasian ones.
North American breeding Snowy Plovers to be split to two species as Western Snowy Plover and Eastern Snowy Plover.
Occidentalis
race of Snowy Plover as Peruvian Plover.
Hudsonia
race of Dunlin as Hudsonian Sandpiper or Hudsonian Dunlin(?).
Two Willet subspecies to be raised to species level as Western Willet and Eastern Willet.

WorldWaders’s Non-breeding Shorebird Mapping Project is online

Written by Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders

One month after the introduction of the Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project the other module of the WorldWaders project goes online. The development of the Non-breeding Shorebird Mapping Project has finished and designers made it available for testing today.

Counting waterbirds including shorebirds are popular way of birding activity. Shorebirds are attracting a great number of birdwatchers worldwide resulting tons of never published or stored field records. We are expecting shorebird records even from the most remote areas of Bangladesh to internal lakes of the steppes of Patagonia. While some part of the world is fairly covered by counts and key sites has been identified there are huge geographical regions where those data is simply not available. This project aims to provide a big picture of shorebird areas of international importance by applying rules of IBA’s selection for their most effective conservation. To provide a future view of the project outcome, regular monitoring activity will be launched on the identified key areas (where it is not yet available) to monitor bird numbers on a regular basis.

About this module

The Beta version of the non-breeding data form is a little bit different from that of used for nesting shorebirds, but the structure is similar to the other module as it maps the records.

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?? Jon Villasper/WorldWaders (Project images cannot by used elsewhere than in the WorldWaders Posterous blog and the WorldWaders.org webiste, without permission.)

The new interface help the contributor to add records on a site and date level not on a species level as used for nesting birds. This can reduce the length of time of data entering dramatically. We also think the reduced bird list on a bio-georgapical level is a great help as the user doesn’t have to browse the world shorebird list (which contains 220+ waders). Only the regularly seen species list is appearing for the selected country. If another georegion is changed the list of species also changes. Non-native waders (such as rarities) for a every georegion can be added manually.

Very rough habitat classification helps us to categorise the results. It is not possible to add every single micro-habitat-type used by waders but we made an acceptable grouping of the most characteristic habitat types.

The online form of the Non-breeding Shorebird Mapping Project is available in English at the moment but soon Spanish, Catalan and Hungarian versions will be online.

For more question please contact Gyorgy Szimuly, project manager.

Artificial roost sites for shorebirds in Botany Bay, Australia

Written by Kylie McClelland

The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) is working with the Sydney Metro and Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authorities to create artificial roost structures for shorebirds in Botany Bay, through an Australian Government Caring for our Country grant. This collaborative program has consolidated existing projects and seeks to create new initiatives to protect seabirds, migratory waders and threatened, breeding shorebirds and their sensitive fringe habitats.

The primary objectives of this project are to:

  • build and consolidate baseline knowledge of shorebird populations through benchmark biodiversity surveys and threat assessments of critical coastal habitats;
  • improve the condition of shorebird habitat through implementing habitat protection, augmentation and restoration works within the Towra Point Nature Reserve RAMSAR site; and
  • increase community awareness of shorebird and seabird ecology, threats and conservation status through an educational campaign and active engagement in habitat restoration and protection efforts.

Long-term monitoring records since 2001 have been collected by the NSW Wader Study group and are being entered into DECCW???s Atlas of NSW Wildlife database. A brochure on the significance of Towra Point, its shorebirds and endangered ecological communities will be published and distributed to increase community awareness. Signs alerting the public of access restrictions to Towra Spit Island and the sensitivities of nesting Little Terns to disturbance have been erected. A Community Fishing Tackle Clean-Up Day was also held in May 2009 to raise community awareness of the issue of discarded fishing tackle and its impact on shorebirds and marine life.

Botany-bay-waders-pied-oystercatchers-d

Peid Oystercatchers using artificial roost sites. ?? Deb Andrew

Two trial artificial roost structures for shorebirds will be installed within the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve in Quibray Bay and at Pelican Point in Botany Bay.

The artificial roosts are 48 posts half of which are joined by a rail. These mimic oyster lease structures the birds are known to use.

These wooden structures are intended to act as supplementary roosts for shorebirds during high tide, when existing structures become partially or wholly submerged, reducing roosting opportunities for the birds. Whilst the current grant provides for the installation of structures at two sites, DECCW has sought the relevant approvals for up to eight sites within southern Botany Bay, contingent on obtaining future additional funds and on the effectiveness of the trial roosts.

In partnership with the NSW Wader Study Group???s long-term shorebird surveys, DECCW has monitored Botany Bay???s shorebird populations (for their diversity and abundance) in the lead up to the installation of the artificial roost structures to collect baseline data. This monitoring will continue post- installation to determine if and how the structures are being used by the shorebirds, and whether there is a preference for posts over railings.

For further information relating to this project please contact Kylie McClelland, Threatened Species Officer, via telephone (02) 9585 6691 or email kylie.mcclelland@environment.nsw.gov.au

Source: Tattler

Alliance for grasslands

Written by Martin Fowlie/BirdLife International

The Alliances initiative for the conservation of the South American Southern Cone grasslands was launched by organisations dedicated to the conservation and study of wild birds in the four South American countries which share the great biome of the ???Pampas??? or grasslands of the Southern Cone of the continent.

These organisations are BirdLife Partners: Aves Argentinas, Aves Uruguay, SAVE Brazil, and Guyra Paraguay. Each national organisation makes a particular effort within their own country and they all work together to promote their work.

Other organisations in the Northern Hemisphere are making similar efforts to focus the attention of conservationist organisations and farmers on the conservation of the great prairies.

Many bird species use these prairies and the southern grasslands throughout the year. Migrant species like Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda, Swainson Hawk Buteo swainsoni, the Buff Breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis, or the Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus have their breeding period in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but they migrate to the southern pampas in winter (where they again enjoy the summer season).

This is a challenge on a continental level, the Southern Cone initiative interacts and works with organisations like National Audubon Society (Birdlife Partner in the U.S.), the U.S. Forest Service, the Northern Prairies Action Plan and Pronatura (BirdLife in Mexico).

Recently the alliance has been working to establish ???Standards of Excellence for the Management and Quality of Natural Grasslands Beef in the Southern Cone of South America???. This will enable the Alliance for the Grasslands to recognise, guarantee and certify products that are friendly towards the conservation of natural farmland and its biodiversity.

For more information click here

Source: BirdLife Community

New web-tool shows critical migratory waterbird sites need urgent protection

Written by Wetlands International

Innovative website, launched to support international conservation efforts for migratory waterbirds, shows key wetlands across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia need protection now

A new website launched today by Wetlands International, BirdLife International and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) reveals major gaps in the protection of many critical sites used by migratory waterbirds across Africa the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia.  A staggering one-third of the critical sites (representing over 1,000 individual sites within the network) are entirely unprotected, putting the future of many migratory waterbirds at risk.

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Migratory waterbirds – such as waders, terns and geese – need an unbroken chain of wetlands to complete their annual life-cycles. These same wetlands  benefit people by providing clean water and opportunities for fishing, agriculture, recreation and tourism. However, wetlands are amongst the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems and, consequently, an alarming 42% of the migratory waterbird species across Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia are in decline.

The new ‘Critical Site Network (CSN)’ Tool provides comprehensive information on 294 waterbird species from 3,020 sites. It is designed to make information easily available on the most important sites for migratory waterbirds, both at the national and international level.

“The Critical Site Network Tool will provide an unprecedented level of access to information for all waterbird species covered by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). It brings together for the first time some of the most current and comprehensive information available internationally on the species and the sites they use,“ said Bert Lenten – Executive Secretary of AEWA – an international wildlife treaty administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“To target conservation efforts effectively, access to reliable information about the critical sites that migratory waterbirds depend upon, and the ecological requirements of these species, is key,” underlined Lenten.

“The Critical Site Network Tool  identifies priority sites for the protection of migratory waterbirds, and also highlights knowledge gaps; showing us that many stop-over and non-breeding localities are still poorly known,” said Dr Marco Lambertini – Chief Executive of BirdLife International. “Only by combining adequate knowledge, targeted action, appropriate funding and local capacity on the ground will we be able to make a difference for migratory species”.

The CSN Tool also identifies sites and populations that need protection at a national level. For example, it has allowed conservationists to identify that only two of the five most important sites for the Near Threatened Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor in Tanzania – a vital country for the species – are currently protected.

Such information is now publicly available online, and will not only significantly help conservation efforts, but also facilitate national implementation of international environment agreements, such as AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The CSN Tool will also help support the implementation of the EU Birds Directive and the Bern Convention.

Some of the most significant threats to critical sites across the network include expanding aquaculture and agriculture, as well as disturbance to birds. As this shows, policies within the agricultural, water management and energy sectors strongly influence biodiversity issues.  “There is tremendous potential for the CSN Tool to benefit decision-making in these areas as well.  This tool mobilizes information about these critical sites and the species that depend on them, for use in impact assessments, spatial planning and other development processes that currently have no access to these data” said Ward Hagemeijer, Head of Biodiversity at Wetlands International.  “This can make a real difference in the way development will be managed — avoiding, minimizing and mitigating impacts and contributing to sustainability”.

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“The CSN Tool is a powerful new resource which will help strengthen both the implementation of AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands”

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“The CSN Tool is a powerful new resource which will help strengthen both the implementation of AEWA and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands”, said Dr Nick Davidson – Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention. “It will provide enhanced support to governments and others in recognising and managing key wetlands for waterbirds, including through their designation as Wetlands of International Importance, and provide support for decision-making to secure wetlands throughout the region so that they continue to provide their many benefits to people and nature”.

The online-tool is being unveiled today at an International Waterbird Conservation Symposium taking place in The Hague, The Netherlands, to mark the 15th Anniversary of AEWA – the international wildlife treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds which use the African–Eurasian Flyway.

The CSN Tool has been jointly developed by Wetlands International, BirdLife International and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP–WCMC) in the framework of the UNEP-GEF Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), German Government and several other partners and donors. WOW is the largest international waterbird and wetland conservation initiative ever undertaken in the African-Eurasian region.  The development of the CSN Tool has been a highly collaborative endeavour bringing together over 200 experts from 100 countries in the African-Eurasian region.

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The Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Project

The UNEP-GEF Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) African-Eurasian Flyways Project is a US$ 12 million initiative funded by The Global Environment Facility, the German Government, the UNEP-AEWA Secretariat and many other donors. The project is a joint effort between UNEP-GEF, Wetlands International, BirdLife International, UNEP-AEWA, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, UNOPS, UNEP-WCMC and a range of other local partners in Africa and Eurasia.

The area covered by the initiative includes all 118 Range States of the UNEP-administered African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement, covering all of Africa, all of Europe, south-west Asia (including the Middle East and Central Asian States), Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago.

For more
information on the WOW project please visit: www.wingsoverwetlands.org

Or download our latest Project Newsletter: Flyway Conservation at Work – Across Africa and Eurasia

Killdeer found nesting in Azores

Written by Birdwatch News Team

An American wader has been added to the list of breeding birds on this side of the Atlantic following the discovery of a Killdeer with two juveniles on Santa Maria in the Azores.

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Killdeer ?? Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders

The amazing find was made by island resident Alan Vittery, who discovered the birds by chance on 29 May. He had seen Killdeers on a number of occasions on the island since last autumn, though had no idea they were still present and breeding in May. He told Birdwatch: “I had to collect our neighbours from the airport and passed by the rapidly receding pools. I saw a Killdeer and was photogaphing it when two juvs walked past! They disappeared into cover so I went back the following morning and took more photos.”

Killdeer is one of the less frequent American wader to reach the Western Palearctic, but the Azores is – unsurprisingly – the location most likely to attract the species. The Birding Azores website lists 18 records, half of them in the last 10 years, though it does not include all the sightings from Santa Maria this winter. Multiple occurrences are not unknown and include three together on Corvo in January this year, although Alan Vittery believes as many as five different adults may have appeared on Santa Maria in the months prior to breeding taking place.

As the latest Nearctic shorebird to nest in the Western Palearctic, Killdeer joins a very select list which includes Pectoral and Spotted Sandpipers (both of which have bred in Scotland) and White-rumped Sandpiper (which has been seen displaying on Svalbard).

A confirmatory photograph of an adult Killdeer with one of the juveniles appears in the July issue of Birdwatch, on sale in UK newsagents from 17 June

Crash: A Tale of Two Species

This is a beautiful documentary movie about the relationship of an incredible ancient survival and a stunning migrant shorebird species. Red Knot numbers has been critically declining partly as a result of the decline of the Horseshoe Crab population in the eastern coast of North America. Trends are irreversible without urgent actions and understanding the interdependence of those species. The movie provides a full picture of the correlation of those animals and the effect of uncontrolled and unsustainable harvesting of those living creatures.

Movie is filmed and presented in HD. Check the documentary by visiting PBS’s website.

Direct link: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/crash-a-tale-of-two-species/video-full-episode/4772/