[Regular readers of the Saving Species blog will have seen previous posts on our work at Sonadia Island in Bangladesh. Sayam Chowdhury gives us a quick update on progress over the last few months]
Survey work has continued with only small numbers of spoon-billed sandpipers seen to date, but we are looking forward to participating in the first co-ordinated count at key spoonie sites across the wintering range. Our first spoonie was seen in October and 22 have been seen recently. As always, the birds have been difficult to detect, but with thorough searching of the flocks we are confident that we are locating all of the birds at our key monitoring sites. We’ve recently been using the Swarovski ATX95 telescope and have been delighted with quality of the optical performance.
Photo © Sayam Chowdhury
The work we have been doing with the local communities has intensified in recent months as the spoonies have returned to Sonadia Island. More posters have been distributed by the local conservation groups and, with genuine support from the Forest Department, more patrols are underway to ensure that hunting remains a thing of the past - the transition from hunter to conservationist has been swift! On the last visit, my colleagues Md Foysal and Faysal Ahmed (seen above) took this great photo of a mural that had been painted on to the wall of a local shop not far from one of our monitoring sites.
Photo ©Md Foysal and Faysal Ahmed
The sense of pride from within the local community that Sonadia Island is globally important for spoon-billed sandpiper and other wildlife is fantastic to see and we are delighted with the results of our current project.
This work is undertaken by the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project and is supported by an SOS grant to WWT and RSPB.
Back at the end of July we brought you news of the survey work ongoing in Kazakhstan on sociable lapwings. The birds have now headed off to their wintering grounds, and as three of them are tagged, you can follow their trip on the Amazing Journey website.
Irina is in Tabuk in Saudi Arabia, and looks like she will remain in the area for the season, having been there already for four weeks. A local birder is trying to find the birds to confirm their location, and you can read his guest blog.
The second tagged bird, Boris, left the Turkey/Syria area and headed speedily into Sudan, while the third (Ainur) has taken an interesting route into Pakistan.
There will be field teams in Sudan and India searching for birds in the New Year, and our colleagues at Nature Iraq will be starting a hunting and awareness raising programme aimed at hunters across Iraq.
This work would not be possible without the support of our partner Swarovski Optik, the RSPB, and BirdLife International through the Preventing Extinctions Programme.
Male sociable lapwing (© Maxim Koshkin)