Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Friends of the Environment’

Plovers in Paradise

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

The Bahamas Blog – Trip 1, Day 2

By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager and Stephanie Egger, Wildlife Biologist

Meeting with Amy Roberts Primary School and Friends of the Environment

Meeting with Amy Roberts Primary School and Friends of the Environment

Today was our first official work day on Abaco, Bahamas as we spent ALL of yesterday traveling. But, today’s lineup included a meeting with our sister school, Amy Roberts Primary School on Green Turtle Cay, presenting a program to children in grades 3-6, a field visit to the tidal flats with Friends of the Environment and Loggerhead Productions, filming with Loggerhead Productions, and finally an informal meeting with the some bonefishermen and Friends of the Environment on tidal flat conservation.

Although we accomplished a lot in one day, the majority of the day was focused on

Todd Pover, CWFNJ, presenting at Amy Roberts Primary School

Todd Pover, CWFNJ, presenting at Amy Roberts Primary School

working with the school teachers and children.  We had a great morning presenting to the students and engaging them in discussions on the different aspects of the piping plover on the their breeding grounds in the U.S. and the wintering grounds in the Bahamas and demonstrating how important the Bahamas is to the life cycle of the piping plover. The teachers were very enthusiastic about incorporating the piping plover into the children’s curriculum and the sister school program.  The children in grades 3 and 4 at Amy Roberts will be part of a sister school program with an elementary school back at home in Ocean City, New Jersey.  The sister school program includes in-school presentations from CWFNJ to both of these schools, a poster/interpretive sign project, a field trip to observe piping plovers, and communication between the teachers and the students using social media and other means to discuss not only piping plovers, but just the similarities and differences in our respective cultures.

Stephanie Egger, CWFNJ, and a student at Amy Roberts Primary School

Stephanie Egger, CWFNJ, and a student at Amy Roberts Primary School

The day started out with rough seas as we made a ferry crossing from mainland Abaco to Green Turtle Cay, but it was smooth sailing for our project the rest of the day. We are feeling very enthusiastic about the project, in part because of the warm welcome we have received here. Now we see why our plovers like the Bahamas so much:)

Plovers in Paradise

Monday, November 4th, 2013

The Bahamas Blog – Trip 1, Day 1

By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager and Stephanie Egger, Wildlife Biologist

BahamasFlyingToday we arrived on the island of Abaco in the Bahamas to start our piping plover project, which was made possible courtesy of a grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. It was mostly a travel day to for us, nonetheless, still exciting  to finally be here to start a project that was has been over a year in the planning.

We will hit the ground running tomorrow with a visit to a local school, participation in a round table discussion with stakeholders on tidal flats conservation, a piping plover survey, and filming for an educational video. And that’s just the first day!

So while we still have time to catch our breath, this is a good opportunity to review the purpose of our trip here.  Over the course of the past two decades, considerable resources have been put into the recovery of the Atlantic Coast population of piping plover, a federally threatened species, with most of the effort taking place on the breeding grounds in the U.S and Canada. Recent research has revealed that the vast majority of the population winters in the Bahamas. Furthermore, there is a growing realization that recovery and long-term sustainability will only occur with full life cycle conservation – protection during the breeding, migration, and wintering phases of the piping plover’s life. (more…)

Plovers and Parrots in Paradise

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
A RETURN TRIP TO THE BAHAMAS

By Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager

Piping Plover on Wintering Grounds, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas. © Tom Reed

Piping Plover on Wintering Grounds, Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas. © Tom Reed

Last month marked the third January I have been able to go to the Bahamas in the name of piping plover research. This recent trip was a little different than the others in that it was not an official work funded trip. Still, it wasn’t a traditional vacation either as a good portion of the trip was dedicated to plover surveys and related work. (It’s hard keeping me away from those pipers!)

This being on my own dime, I did make it a point to sample some of the Bahamas other wildlife this time around. At the top of my list was the Bahama parrot. Once found on many Bahamas islands, the parrot is now only present on Abaco and Great Inagua, and is a protected species in the Bahamas. Abaco National Park, overseen by the Bahamas National Trust, encompasses over 20,000 acres, including some of the most critical parrot habitat. Ongoing research of the parrot’s breeding success is being conducted on Abaco as well – it is heartening to see significant conservation effort being put towards parrots in the Bahamas.

Flock of Bahama Parrots in Flight on Abaco. © Tom Reed

Flock of Bahama Parrots in Flight on Abaco. © Tom Reed

I had heard the calls of parrots on previous trips, but since I literally had my “head in the sand” looking for plovers I hadn’t actually seen them. For awhile I didn’t think I would get a glimpse of them this time either – although we were at a parrot hotspot in Abaco known as Bahama Palm Shores, once again I heard them but couldn’t quite get them in my sights.  Parrots can be quite social and their chatter was clearly audible in the trees around us – tantalizingly close – but surprisingly hard to see for a large colorful bird. Our patience paid off as suddenly a flock of at least 100 parrots lifted up and circled over us, temporarily blackening the sky (perhaps “brightening the sky” is more appropriate in this case). What a spectacular sight and later we would see a smaller flock close up foraging in a field. (more…)

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