Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2017’

CWF Scientists Follow At-Risk Migratory Shorebirds to Tierra del Fuego

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

 

Over the past two years, our team, with the help of funding from the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, has worked to create critical habitat maps and detailed threat maps for at-risk shorebird species in Northern Brazil and in Tierra Del Fuego, Chile. These projects have established the foundation for conservation planning in these important wintering areas for migratory shorebirds like red knots.

 

Brazil:

Two years ago, our team began working in Northern, Brazil covering the Atlantic coastline of both Pará and Maranhão state between Belém and São Luís. Our team conducted two successful excursions to Brazil taking point count surveys of wading shorebirds collecting approximately 44,700 individual bird sightings to add to the database our team created for the critical habitat maps (Figures 1 & 2).

Figure 2. Results from the 2017 point count survey

                    Figure 1. Results from the 2016 point count survey

 

David Santos and Larry Niles conduct point sampling surveys in Maranhão Brazil.

We conducted surveys using point count methods using fixed radius plots positioned along transects, with all wading birds counted within the 250m radius. Transects were conducted by either walking or while in a boat across various tidal stages and a variety of habitat types including mangrove creeks, sand flats, mudflats and beaches.

 

 

 

Brazil Team: Carla Meneguin,
Paulo Siqueira, Ana Paula Sousa, Larry Niles, Juliana Almeida, Carmem Fedrizzi Joe Smith, Stephanie Feigin, Yann Rochepault, Laura Reis and Christophe Buiden (photo by Juliana Almeida)

 

 

 

Our team then created threat maps of the region from coastal development, mining operations, offshore drilling, and shrimp farming to help inform future conservation planning and mitigate impacts of these activities to the critical shorebird habitat in the region.

 

Chile:

This year, with a second round of funding, our team conducted work in Tierra Del Fuego, Chile to create critical habitat and detailed threat maps for Bahia Lomas in Chile. Bahia Lomas is both a globally significant RAMSAR wetlands site and a Western Hemisphere shorebird site of hemispheric importance.  

 

Shorebirds in Bahia Lomas

Historically, Bahía Lomas and nearby Rio Grande supported wintering populations of 67,000 red knots –  the largest wintering area for knots in the Western Hemisphere. In the last 30 years, however, the population has declined to less than 15,000 knots in Bahía Lomas and the population in Rio Grande is functionally extinct (Morrison et al 1989).

 

 

Aerial Survey over Bahia Lomas

 

 

 

This January our team conducted surveys along the coast of Bahia Lomas to understand distribution of shorebird species within the region, using the same sampling methods, study key roosting and feeding habitats, and delineate critical habitat and threats to the region to inform future conservation and minimize impacts to shorebird populations.

 

Team in Chile including Ross Wood, Stu Mackenzie, Carmen Espoz, Larry Niles, Joe Smith, Yann Rochepault, Christophe Buidin, Antonio Larrea, Richard Lathrop, Stephanie Feigin and Amanda Dey.

Over two weeks our team of New Jerseyans and Canadians conducted point-count sampling surveys throughout the bay with large assistance from our partners from Universidad Santo Tomás in Chile to determine key habitats. Additionally, our team conducted four aerial surveys to get species distribution counts on a large scale of the whole bay at various tide stages, as well as a helicopter survey to continue the population counts of the region done by Dr. Guy Morrison. Finally, our partners with the Universidad Santo Tomás conducted marine invertebrate sampling surveys. These data will be combined to aid in the creation of a GIS mapping system that can identify the most important shorebird habitats in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

In the next few months our team will use these data and overlay them with threat mapping to determine the critical habitats undergoing the greatest threats.  This project is designed set the stage for proactive conservation planning that will mitigate future threats and will hopefully uncover the source of ongoing declines to the shorebirds in this region.

Citation:

 

Morrison R.I.G. & Ross R.K. (1989) Atlas of Nearctic shorebirds on the coast of South America. Canadian Wildlife Service Ottawa (Canada).

 

Grassland Birds of New Jersey

Thursday, December 28th, 2017
Part II: Restoring Critical Breeding Habitat

by Meghan Kolk, Wildlife Biologist

In Part I of this series, I discussed the drastic loss of grasslands in New Jersey and the importance of preserving and restoring this disappearing habitat for grassland-dependent bird species.  Due to this habitat loss, in much of the northeastern United States (including New Jersey) airports have become significant breeding grounds for many threatened and endangered grassland birds.  In fact, airports are often the only suitable habitat available for New Jersey’s rarest grassland bird, the upland sandpiper.  If these large expanses of open fields are managed properly, they can support nesting birds while still remaining safe for aircraft operation.  This is the goal of CWF’s new restoration project at one of the most critical breeding sites in New Jersey.

Restoration site at Lakehurst breeding grounds, December 2017. Photo by Meghan Kolk.

The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL) in central New Jersey hosts the largest known breeding colony of the endangered upland sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda), and the second-largest known breeding colony of the threatened grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) in the State.  The bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), horned lark (Eremophila alpestris) (all threatened) and eastern meadowlark (Sturnella magna) (special concern) all make a home here as well during the nesting season.  CWF has  partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore hundreds of acres of this vital land to increase suitability and to alter management practices to benefit both wildlife and airfield operations. (more…)

Photos from the Field: Cheesequake Osprey Platform Replacement

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Boy Scout Dylan Green gives osprey nesting platform a needed upgrade

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Dylan and his father John pose for a quick portrait in front of one of the new platforms.

This past Sunday we assisted Dylan Green, along with his family and fellow Troop 65 scouts to install three new osprey nesting platforms. The project was done by Dylan as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. He self funded the project using his own money to purchase the supplies needed to construct the platforms and built the platforms together with his fellow Boy Scouts. The platforms were used to replace two platforms that were in bad condition. The third was installed in a location where a platform used to be located. The osprey population at Cheesequake State Park is small, but it is good habitat for ospreys. (more…)

New Jersey 2017 Bald Eagle Project Report

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
Another productive year for NJ’s eagles

by Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

E/07,Purcellville, VA;10/16/17@ Amie Ware

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ in partnership with the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program has released the 2017 NJ Bald Eagle Project Report.  In 2017, 178 eagle nests were monitored during the nesting season. Of these nests 153 were active (with eggs) and 25 were territorial or housekeeping pairs. One hundred and ninety young were fledged. (more…)

W34: A NY Banded Eagle In NJ

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Bands help to tell his story.

by: Larissa Smith, CWF Wildlife Biologist

Eagle banded W-34@ Randy Lubischer

In the end of October, NJ Eagle Project volunteer Randy Lubischer spotted a banded adult bald eagle near his home in Monmouth County. He was able take good photos that showed the bird was banded with a blue (NY) band on the left leg and was able to get a very clear image of the letter and number code on the band. We reached out to the NY Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources to find out more information on the eagle.

In the fall of 2011, an injured hatch year bird was found on the side of the road in Onondaga County, NY. The bird was rehabbed,  banded (NY Blue band W34) and released on October 7, 2011 at the Montezuma NWR.  On 11/18/2016, W34 was sighted in Darlington, Maryland and then in in NE Maryland again on 3/1/2017.

W34& mate 11/7/17@Randy Lubischer

W34 looks to be staying in NJ to nest as he has found a mate, a sub-adult female, who still has dark feathers on her head. They have started to build a nest and have been copulating.

We can’t necessarily assume that W34 was hatched in NY. Since he was found injured and not banded he could well be a NJ bird. We have followed NJ recent fledges outfitted with transmitters, take long flights north after leaving their nest areas.  We also know that many NJ banded eagles do return to NJ to nest. So we’ll never know the true origin of W34 but we can piece together some of his story and hopefully have more news about him and his mate in the upcoming nesting season.

W34 in flight@Randy Lubischer

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