25 Years of Shorebird Conservation at Delaware Bay

Written by Charles Duncan/WHSRN



Please join the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and a coalition of Delaware Bay conservation groups as we celebrate

 25 Years of

Shorebird Conservation at

Delaware Bay

Monday, May 9, 2011 • 2:00 p.m.

 at the restored oyster shipping sheds and wharves of the Bayshore Discovery Project, Bivalve, Port Norris, NJ.

Price: $25 per person

Opportunity for 45 passengers to enjoy an evening sail on the restored schooner, the A.J. Meerwald.

Henry M. Paulson, Jr., conservationist and 74th Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, will give the keynote address.

Phillip M. Hoose, conservationist and National Book Award winner, will read from his forthcoming book for young readers entitled B-95: A Year in the Life of the Moonbird.

Twenty-five years ago, biologists, citizens, and political leaders came together to recognize Delaware Bay as a Site of Hemispheric Importance for migrating shorebirds. This event marked the beginning of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) and an international effort to conserve shorebird stopovers as well as breeding and wintering areas that now includes 84 sites in 13 countries spanning the Hemisphere. After 25 years, shorebird protection has grown more difficult and vital to the survival of many shorebird species like the Red Knot. In this one-day event we will celebrate the extraordinary international conservation efforts for shorebirds of the Delaware Bay stopover and the many people who have worked so hard to keep shorebirds in our lives.

Please Register by May 1.

Reception includes a hearty selection of Delaware Bay cuisine, wine and beer (cash bar).

The Bayshore Discovery Project is located at 2800 High Street, Bivalve Port Norris, NJ. For directions, visit www.bayshorediscovery.org

Proceeds from this event will benefit collaborative, science-based shorebird research and conservation.

Register here

Space is limited to 300 for this event and will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

Swarovski Optik announces new conservation commitment

Written by BirdLife Community

Delegates attending the inaugural meeting of the Sociable Lapwing International Working Group in Syria, last weekend, received this welcome news when Swarovski Optik announced they would be providing further funding to support international conservation action for the species through the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.


Swarovski Optik has now become the primary funder of international conservation action for Sociable Lapwing, as institutional funding from the UK Government Darwin Initiative draws to a close after five years.

In addition to announcing an extension of their current support as a BirdLife Species Champion for a further three years, Swarovski Optik delighted the group by providing optical equipment to the new range state partners that have now joined the group.

The top of the range optics included five pairs of Swarovski’s brand new EL 50 Swarovision binoculars and two ATM 80 HD spotting scopes.

Announcing their continued support, Andreas Pittl – Head of Marketing- at Swarovski Optik – offered congratulations to the group for their achievements to date and wished the newly extended working group future success.

In a message sent from the Tyrol, Pittl also said “We believe in the team and your planned activities to reach our common goal – preventing the incredible Sociable Lapwing from extinction. I want you to know Swarovski Optik is supporting you every step of the way. We have increased our annual financial contribution and are providing this optical equipment to help new members of the Sociable Lapwing International Working Group with their important monitoring and fieldwork. Please keep up the good work!


Dr. Mohammed Al Salameh of the Saudi Wildlife Commission using the equipment in the field.

Following the announcement and presentation of equipment, Omar Fadhil of Nature Iraq said “I have always dreamt of using a pair of Swarovski binoculars but never thought I would – so receiving these new Swarovision EL50s is quite incredible. I see them as a piece of ‘precious art’ which will help my work now and be a legacy to future generations that join us protecting the wildlife of Iraq.

Swarovski Optik first became a BirdLife Species Champion for Sociable Lapwing alongside RSPB at the British Birwatching Fair in August 2008.  RSPB have confirmed they will also continue  as Species Champions alongside Swarovski Optik for the next three years, so both organisations can continue to work in partnership, supporting and promoting international action for the species.

In common with all BirdLife Species Champions a small proportion of Swarovski Optik’s contribution is also used to advance conservation action for other globally threatened birds. In this way Species Champions are collectively helping to prevent the extinction of threatened species on a larger scale than would otherwise be possible. See here for details of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

Further news covering the conservation planning outcomes of the Syria meeting will be posted to the Amazing Journey website shortly once conclusions have been consolidated and announced formally by the AEWA Secretariat.

Spoony wins hearts and votes from Disney???s Friends for Change

Written by BirdLife Community


‘Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands’, BirdLife’s project to save two key resting and feeding sites used by Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers in China, has been selected to receive a $100,000 grant by The Walt Disney Company, through Disney’s Friends for Change.


Spoon-billed Sandpiper. © Chaiwat Chinuparawat (www.theworldsrarest.com)

‘Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands’ was among five programmes chosen for their environmental efforts. Children worldwide had the opportunity to help Disney distribute the grants by voting for their favourite project on the Friends for Change website. The amounts awarded were determined by the number of votes each project received. Each was assured at least $25,000, but higher sums were available for those receiving more votes. The odd and appealing little wader –now down to its last 400 individuals- emerged as the children’s favourite, and was awarded the highest grant.

BirdLife’s China Programme, BirdLife Partner Designate the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society and other friends in China, including the Wild Bird Society of Shanghai and the Fujian Bird Watching Society, will use the $100,000 for their work at two wetlands near Shanghai, where Spoon-billed Sandpipers stop on their way round China’s coast. Gathering information about all the waterbirds that use these two wetlands will help us protect them better.

“We were thrilled to receive the news that our Spoon-billed Sandpiper project had received such a generous grant from Disney’s Friends for Change initiative”, said Richard Grimmett, BirdLife’s Director of Conservation. “We are also very excited that so many children are now aware of Spoony and his plight, and were moved to vote for him. Raising awareness in this way is another important contribution to making sure that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper will not be allowed to slip into extinction.”

To learn more about the programmes Friends for Change has supported, visit www.Disney.com/projectgreen. Spoony’s award is part of Disney’s $1 million annual contribution to environmental and conservation programs made in the course of a year.

Encourage the kids in your life to join and pledge to take simple everyday actions that help the planet.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the species benefitting from the BrirdLife Preventing Extinction Programme. Find out more at www.birdlife.org/extinction.

About Disney’s Friends for Change

Disney’s Friends for Change is a multiplatform initiative that helps inspire kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world (and the people and animals that live there).  Through the program, kids can learn practical ways to help the environment, get their friends involved, track their collective impact and have the opportunity to help Disney decide how $1 million in contributions to environmental causes will be made each year. To date, Friends for Change has funded over 41 projects that help the planet ranging from educational & community programs to species & habitat protection.  Friends for Change currently has over 3 million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Japan, India, and China.  To learn more visit, www.Disney.com/projectgreen


First workshop on Kentish Plover in Italy

Written by Massimo Biondi & Loris Pietrelli

On 18 Spetember 2010 GAROL (Gruppo Attività e Ricerche Ornitologiche del Litorale) organized the first National Conference on Kentish Plover in Bracciano (Rome), Italy. The main goal of the conference was to go deep into the effective situation of this species in Italy. During the conference 70 Italian researchers from 15 different regions presented a total of 38 works.


Participants of the conference.

Based on coordinated surveys on Kentish Plover populations, located in Italy, were estimated and in some cases, data regarding the apparent survival of adults and juveniles were reported. During the conference local ornithologists of each region introduced the current state of Kentish Plover based on survey results from the period of 2008-2010. The constant monitoring of nesting and wintering sites throughout the seasons and years shows that in many Italian littorals Kentish Plover is dramatically decreasing.


Nesting Kentish Plover.

In particular, considering the breeding populations, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Latium and in Campania, Charadrius alexandrinus seems to be close to the extinction (<10 breeding pairs).


Kentish Plover nests on littoral zone.

About 80% of the pairs are located in three Regions (Sardinia, Veneto and Sicily) and in particular in a few large sites. During the 2008-2010 survey period, the Italian breeding population were estimated between 1,500-1,850 pairs and where data allowed calculation resulted negative trends exclusively (compared to result of 2000-2005 survey period). The future of this unstable breeding populations of the Italian littorals is dramatically uncertain. For each region the most important causes of the significant decline in the size of breeding populations of Kentish Plover are as follows:

  • habitat degradation (transformation and habitat loss; habitat fragmentation; marine erosion; wetland drainage, water levels and vegetation growth);
  • anthropic disturbances due to leisure activities (sun baths and trampling; fishing; off roads vehicle transit; kite surfing; eggs and chicks collecting);
  • mechanical cleanings of beaches during the entire reproductive season.


Beach cleaning activity is one of the threatening factors which affect the breeding success of Kentish Plover.

Data on breeding success are scarce and dishomogeneous. As a typical example on Latium the breeding success of Kentish Plover plummeted from 29.3% to 11.4%.

Kentish Plover populations were estimated of a range of 2,421-3,214 individuals during the wintering period (2008-2010) which is more or less equal to the previous survey.

Natural predation (feral mammals, vagrant dogs and cats, Corvidae, Laridae, snakes and Kestrel) is an additional problem for the survival of the species in Italy.

The National Conference promoted a final act with the creation of a coordinated Working Group as well as some future actions, like a national LIFE project for the conservation of the Kentish Plover during 2011. A volume of the conference proceedings is to be published by Edizioni Belvedere (info@edizionibelvedere.it) during the summer 2011.

Abstracts of talks can be reached via this link.

Shorebird conferences in 2011

There will be two major conferences on waders in the second half of this year. These specific conferences are focusing exclusively on shorebird research, conservation and their future. Some detail of these events in chronological order as follows.


4th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group Meeting
La Cuarta Reunión del Grupo de Aves Playeras Hemisferio Occidental

August 11-15, 2011

Simon Fraser University
Fraser River Delta/Delta del Río Fraser
Vancouver, BC

The purpose of the meeting is to:

  • bring together biologists studying breeding, staging and wintering shorebirds throughout the Western Hemisphere in one location,
  • promote information sharing on methodologies and study design among biologists working on different shorebird species,
  • to promote range-wide studies of shorebirds by fostering collaborations among biologists interested in particular species,
  • integrate science into the implementation of various shorebird conservation plans, and
  • to generate enthusiasm among the shorebird community to conduct additional studies of shorebirds in the future.


Please use the conference email whsgmeet@sfu.ca for most queries.
Contact Dov Lank at dlank@sfu.ca or Monica Court at mcourt@sfu.ca for questions regarding registration and lodging.
Questions about the Scientific Program may be addressed to Ron Ydenberg ydenberg@sfu.ca or Dov Lank dlank@sfu.ca.

Conference website: http://www.sfu.ca/biology/wildberg/4WHSG/4WHSG.htm


International Wader Study Group Conference 2011

24-25 September 2011
26 Spetember 2011 specific workshop(s)

Ben Wyvis Hotel

“The IWSG Conference is an institution in its own right. Each year it has moved to a different hosting country (click here for where we’ve been!) and organisation. Every conference is a great opportunity to discuss the latest in wader conservation and science….and catch up with old friends from around the wader world.”


Please check the IWSG website regularly to receive further information on the venue, travel, registration and deadlines.
The main organisers (Brian Etheridge and Ron Summers) can best be contacted via conf2011@waderstudygroup.org.

Conference website: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/conf/2011.php

UK stone-curlew population goes from strength to strength

Written by James Hamilton/Birding247

The UK’s Stone-curlew population is literally going from strengh to strength. Results of the species breeding success, has led to celebrations [not too many beers we hope – ed] by the RSPB and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) who have been celebrating along with farmers in the Eastern region following the news that by working together, they have helped the vulnerable Stone-curlew population in the area to be moved from a status of ‘high conservation concern’ to a ‘medium conservation concern’.


Eurasian Stone-curlew. @ James Hamilton

Stone-curlews are large wading birds whose habitat consists of treeless, stony terrain and grassland. This special bird’s most striking characteristics are their long yellow legs and large yellow eyes, the power of which enables them to feed on insects at night, giving rise to their local name of goggle-eyed plover. They are a shy, sensitive species and negative changes in their habitat will often result in lowered breeding success.

Before habitats were changed to arable farming and forestry after the Second World War, there used to be more than 1,000 breeding pairs in England. Numbers of Stone-curlews fell by over 85% between 1940 and 1985, when the numbers hit a low of 150-160 pairs.

In 2010, thanks to work of farmers and landowners, often working with the RSPB over the past 25 years, the entire UK population of stone-curlews increased gradually to 370 pairs. The Eastern Region is home to two thirds of these rare birds, and as one of the two main strongholds left in England, the agricultural community has a vital part to play in the survival of this special species.

This year’s fantastic result for stone-curlews has been achieved through many CLA members, other farmers and landowners putting measures in place to intervene when agricultural operations pose a threat to Stone-curlews on their land and implementing positive land management, such as creating cultivated fallows, which provide essential nesting and feeding habitats for the birds.

This evening’s event aims to thank the farmers in the region who have stepped up for nature alongside the RSPB and to recognise their continuing commitment to the conservation of Stone-curlews. Their achievements this year are extremely significant both to the survival of Stone-curlews, but also as an indication of what can be achieved for a multitude of other vulnerable species in the future.

Simon Tonkin, Senior Conservation Officer for the RSPB in Eastern England says: “Hearing the eerie sound of Stone-curlews calling at night is a sound I will never forget. The opportunity to observe this distinguished inhabitant of Breckland is all thanks to the farmers and landowners working together with the RSPB to make a real difference for farm wildlife.

These farmers demonstrate the value of funding through agri-environment schemes, which is why it is essential that farmers be given the right level of incentives through the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. We strongly feel that there is a way to ensure farmland is managed in a way that is prosperous for farm wildlife, food production and farm businesses.”

This event provides an opportunity for us to jointly applaud the work of those farmers across the region stepping up for nature on their farms and making a real difference for such an iconic species of the Brecks.

Gerald Grey, Head keeper at the Hilborough Estate explains: “The Hilborough estate working together with the RSPB continues to be a great experience as we are both pulling in exactly the same direction, attempting to provide countryside rich in farm wildlife that we can all enjoy and protect for future generations. By providing habitat for Stone-curlews we have also been able to provide habitat for Grey Partridge, Turtle Dove, arable flora and farmland butterflies.

Hugh Van Cutsem who owns the Hilborough Estate is a former chairman of our Norfolk  CLA branch and his approach to conservation is typical of so many of our members, says Rob Wise, CLA regional adviser. “They have been prominent in their support for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment and we have numerous examples of the work they do for wildlife and the environment – farmland birds especially.

We can all be proud of these results.” concluded Rob.

Syria hosts inaugural meeting of the Sociable Lapwing International Working Group

Written by BirdLife International

Conservation scientists and government officials from fourteen countries spanning three continents are meeting in Syria today to plan collaborative conservation action that aims to prevent the extinction of the Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing. Countries which have sent representatives include, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudia Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey and United Kingdom.


Migrating Sociable Lapwings. Image courtesy of BirdLife International

The event marks the inaugural meeting of the Sociable Lapwing International Working Group which was recently formed under the Africa Eurasia Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA) and takes place in Palmyra, from 18th – 20th March.

The meeting is hosted by the General Commission for Al Badia Management and Development (GCB) and the Syrian Ministry of State for Environment Affairs and is facilitated by the Syrian Society for Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW) BirdLife’s Affiliate in Syria and The BirdLife International Middle East Secretariat. While conducted in English, simultaneous Arabic interpretation is being provided.

Read more…

New Forum on Waders

Written by Gyorgy Szimuly/WorldWaders

A new forum has just been announced by the International Wader Study Group. The site is intended to touch many areas from biology and conservation to field techniques and ageing or sexing of waders. Registration is needed to comment on posts or to start a thread. Find the site under this link.


Blackish Oystercatcher, Pacific coast, Chile. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Chile: Proposed Bah??a Lomas Nature Center Receives Major Support

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

The Bahía Lomas WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance, located in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, is the most important wintering area in the Americas for the imperiled rufa subspecies of the Red Knot (Calidris canutus). With initial funding raised by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and the Ramsar Convention’s Small Grants Program, local partners are developing a Management Plan for this site that addresses the conservation of Red Knots and other shorebird species of concern.

In addition, Manomet and its partner, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, have been providing the initial leadership and support for the development of a nature interpretation center that would benefit the site. The objective of the proposed Bahía Lomas Nature Center is to serve as the base of operations for the development of science, education, and tourism associated with conserving Bahía Lomas.


Red Knot (Calidris canutus). © Pablo Petracci

In December 2010, based on the Management Plan and initial investment from Manomet, the nature center project received a huge contribution from the Municipality of Primavera—the donation of a building in which to establish the Bahia Lomas Nature Center! Located at Bahía Azul (Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego), the complex is in many ways ideal and has much of the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the operation of a nature center.

In the weeks to come, the Municipality of Primavera, the University of St. Thomas (Chile), and Manomet will sign an agreement for co-administration of the Center—another major step in the development of this important endeavor.

View Untitled in a larger map

Designated in February 2009, Bahía Lomas was the first WHSRN site in Chile.

Thanks to the municipality’s generous donation, more project funds are now available for “building” other important aspects of the Center such as internal infrastructure, equipment, and a sustainable business plan. The Center expects to open its doors during the second half of 2011!

We applaud Mayor Ricardo Olea Celsi and the Municipality of Primavera for their commitment to conserving the natural resources of Bahía Lomas and for their generosity!

For more information, please contact Diego Luna Quevedo (diego.luna@manomet.org), Southern Cone Program Coordinator, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

Protecting Sociable Lapwings in Iraq

Written by BirdLife International

In September 2010, Nature Iraq (BirdLife International’s Affiliate in the country) undertook a combined monitoring and advocacy exercise in several areas of Iraq where Sociable Lapwings have previously been found on passage. The work was led by Iraq’s ???leading ornithologists: Omar Fadhil, Mudhafer Salim and Korsh Ararat and built on previous studies conducted by Nature Iraq in the autumn of 2009 and spring of 2010.



Here you can see a group of school children holding up posters that explain the rarity of the species and urge local communities to participate in their protection. © Nature Iraq

The planned monitoring entailed conducting a series of surveys that searched for Sociable Lapwings that might be passing through the country on their autumn migration.  Its primary purpose was to locate large flocks of birds at previously undiscovered stopover sites that could be subsequently protected.

Like all the country teams now participating in international conservation action for Sociable Lapwings, Nature Iraq was on standby, hopeful they’d receive news of a satellite-tagged birds passing through, like in spring 2010 when one of the birds was located in central Iraq near lake Tharthar. When this information is available it makes searching for flocks much simpler as without specific location information huge areas need to be covered.

Despite the plan, no new tracking information was available to pass on, so the sites the team actually surveyed last autumn were primarily locations Nature Iraq had found birds at before and some others that the species had been recorded at historically.

Read more…