Grand Opening of the Bah??a Lomas Center, southern Chile

Written by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

At noon on 20 April, the community of Primavera in the southern Chilean Province of Tierra del Fuego is celebrating the grand opening of the Bahía Lomas Center! This initiative, many years in the making, was launched jointly by the Municipality of Primavera, the University of Santo Tomás (through its Faculty of Sciences), and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (USA).

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Centro Bahía Lomas, Tierra del Fuego, Chile/ © Ricardo Matus

Located at one of the gateways to the island of Tierra del Fuego (the Bahía Azul crossing), the Center was established with three main objectives: 

  • to develop and carry out scientific research regarding migratory shorebirds, whales, ecological systems, and indigenous Selk’nam culture, among others;
  • to implement activities involving education, public awareness, and capacity building at various levels; and
  • to promote local tourism and economic development associated with the conservation of this globally important site.

For the island of Tierra del Fuego, the Center will serve as a new place of interest and learning for residents and tourists, providing them with ecological as well as tourist information about the area, a café and gift shop, and tours of the island.

The 150,000-acre (59,000-hectare) Bahía Lomas is the southernmost wetland in Chile, located at the eastern mouth of the Strait of Magellan. Declared a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention in 2004 and as a Site of Hemispheric Importance by WHSRN in 2009, the area is known worldwide for hosting tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds that use its habitats year after year. Some have migrated over 9,300 miles to get here! Bahía Lomas is the most important wintering site in South America for the rufa subspecies of Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa), which breeds in the Arctic. Its population has suffered sharp declines.

Establishing such a Center is called for in the Bahía Lomas Management Plan, itself developed through a process of good governance without precedent in Chile. The project is being carried out through a strategic alliance among the Ministry of Environment, the National Petroleum Company (ENAP by its Spanish acronym), the Municipality of Primavera, University of Santo Tomás, Wildlife Conservation Society-Chile, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

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© Gabriela González

The inaugural event will feature a variety of regional, national, and international authorities, and project partners. All will be celebrating this ambitious project as well as the partnerships that are supporting conservation and local development in the community of Primavera.

Congratulations to all of our partners for this important achievement—the dream of many years. Best wishes as well to the new Director of this most impressive Bahía Lomas Center, our colleague and friend, Ricardo Matus and monitors Gabriela González and Sergio Urrejola!

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

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You’re invited: Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Conservation Plan reception

Posted by Meredith Gutowski/WHSRN

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Dear WHSRN Friends and Shorebird Supporters,

You are invited to attend the reception, described above, on 10 May 2012 at 5:30 pm in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. 

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences is hosting the event with Senators Whitehouse (Rhode Island) and Cardin (Maryland) in support of a “call to action” for the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Conservation Plan.

The Plan, itself, is a collaborative effort of dozens of conservation leaders and groups, scientists, and funders to recover and then safeguard the populations of shorebirds across their entire lifecycle along the Atlantic Flyway of the Americas.  The Northeast Office of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Manomet have provided the backbone organization that is currently creating the Plan.

We hope you’ll be able to join us! If so, please RSVP to Martha Sheldon (msheldon@manomet.org).

We encourage you to share this invitation with others whom you think might be interested.

Sincerely,
WHSRN Executive Office
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences

 

Shorebirds 2020 Web App for iPhone, iPods and Androids

Written by Birds Australia

The shorebirds 2020 Identification booklet is now available as an I Phone Application. It has been developed by Neil Shelley, one of our volunteers, to be made available for free to everyone interested in our migratory and resident shorebirds.

  • Download the iPhone Web App that helps you identify and learn more about shorebirds
  1. Point Safari on the iPhone at http://www.penboc.org.au/shorebirds/
  2. Tap on the “+” or ‘forward arrow’ on the toolbar at the bottom of the Safari screen
  3. Tap on “Add to Home Screen” and change the name to “Oz Shorebirds”
  4. Tap on “Save”or “Add”
  5. You should now have an icon on your home screen (of a Hooded Plover) that you can tap on to run the app
  6. You can also use it on a Mac or PC via Safari or Google Chrome (and some other browsers, but not Internet Explorer or Firefox).

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For I Pod users

  • The iPod Touch has Wi-Fi capability, so if you have a Wi-Fi network you can get the web app on your iPod.
  • Go into Settings, turn on Wi-Fi and connect to the Wi-Fi network.
  • Then do the following on the iPod Touch:
    1. Point Safari at http://www.penboc.org.au/shorebirds/
    2. Tap on the “+” on the toolbar at the bottom of the Safari screen
    3. Tap on “Add to Home Screen” and change the name to “Oz Shorebirds”
    4. Tap on “Save”
    5. There should now be an icon on the home screen (of a Hooded Plover) that you can tap on to run the app
  • Then go back into Settings and turn off Wi-Fi
  • While in Settings check that Bluetooth and Location Services are turned off (you don’t need any of these on for an iPod Touch and they just drain the battery).
  • Even though the app is a website (ie. a web app), the content should be cached on the iPhone/iPod Touch so that it is accessible when the Internet isn’t available.

Surprise report from troubled Syria

Written by BirdLife Community/BirdLife International

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During the current Syrian Uprising, travelling even short distances around the country has become very difficult and is in many cases extremely dangerous. Vehicles are subject to frequent spot checks by security forces and, with tensions running high, travel has been heavily curtailed. Making a journey carrying the usual paraphernalia necessary to monitor birds such as binoculars, telescope and cameras creates additional complications and risks suspicion of anti-government behaviour, instant confiscation of equipment and, potentially, much worse.

Accordingly we have been assuming no records of migrating Sociable Lapwings or hunting mitigation activity would be recorded in the country this spring leaving a gap in the usual regular information we receive from the country.

Read more…

Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance activities support shorebird conservation in Uruguay

Written by BirdLife International

Annually, Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis and American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica undertake some of the longest journeys of any migratory birds in the world, from their breeding grounds in the tundra of North America (Canada and Alaska) to wintering sites in the grasslands of Southern South America. Aves Uruguay (BirdLife in Uruguay) and partners have secured approximately 3,000 hectares for both species of shorebirds through good management practices of the natural grasslands.

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Image curtesy of BirdLife International.

Both species have suffered significant population declines due to habitat loss on their migration and wintering grounds and through hunting (in the Caribbean, and historically in North and South America). Their primary wintering grounds are the Southern Cone or Pampas grasslands of South America, and Laguna de Rocha in Uruguay is one of the few sites globally where they can be found in large numbers on a regular basis. Consequently, Laguna de Rocha has been identified as an IBA for both species (IBA UY019) and in 2010 was designated as a site of regional importance within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). Importantly, the lagoon and surrounding grasslands have recently been declared Protected Landscape within the new National Protected Areas System.

Laguna de Rocha is one of the pilot sites for the Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance (www.pastizalesdelconosur), where, through collaboration with local ranchers, best practices for the management of natural grasslands are being developed which enable ranchers to conserve the unique biodiversity of their grasslands through livestock ranching. A combination of academic research, traditional knowledge and the monitoring of grassland bird populations are being used to develop the most appropriate grassland management practices for each species of conservation concern.

The work at Laguna de Rocha is being led by Aves Uruguay with the support of the national university (the Universidad de la República). A research and monitoring program has been established for both species, with the goal of understanding the main factors determining habitat preferences, and the relationship with land use, diet, territoriality, site fidelity (between years) and spatial segregation of the sexes. The program will also assess the local population status, estimate demographic parameters (e.g. survival), local movements and help identify the migratory flyways used by both species. Through the program, college students will receive training in topics such as migration ecology, behavioral ecology, biodiversity conservation and field techniques.

Information generated through the research and monitoring program is being used to inform decisions regarding stocking rates, rotation cycles and other aspects of livestock management by producers to help create appropriate habitat for Buff-breasted Sandpiper and American Golden Plover. This synergy has been made possible in part thanks to the support of the “Responsible Production Project” of the Uruguayan Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Aves Uruguay’s work at Laguna de Rocha is made possible through the project “Connecting people and places for the conservation of Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngenites subruficollis” financed by the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Eastern Regional University Centre (Centro Universitario Regional Este, Universidad de la República). It is also supported through theSouthern Cone Grasslands Alliance, which is supported by the Aage V. Jensen Charity FoundationCanadian Wildlife ServiceNMBCA and U.S. Forest Service – International Programs; in addition to support from the Responsible Production Project, the Basic Sciences Development Program of the Universidad de la República and WHSRN.

Further information: Pablo Rocca (roccallosa@gmail.com) Grasslands Alliance Coordinator un Uruguay.