Conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in our Flyway sometimes seems like an uphill battle as we struggle to come to terms with the latest information on reclamation of inter-tidal areas and degradation of key sites. To leaven the doom-and-gloom aspects of some of our work, participants in the 8th Meeting of Partners (MOP8) recently held in Japan, suggested that we highlight some “good news” stories. These successes make us feel our work is worthwhile and having an impact and send a positive message. The increase in the global population of Black-faced Spoonbill from less than 500 individuals twenty years ago to over 2,700 in the 2013-2014 winter represents such a success story. It seemed the population was levelling off in recent winters but the results of the latest survey in January 2015 revealed a 20% jump in numbers, surpassing 3,000 birds for the first time. Despite the good news, we must not let up in our efforts to conserve this species, both on its breeding grounds and at wintering sites. The EAAFP Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group, formally established at MOP8, has been very active in developing a work program to better understand the ecology, movements and conservation of Black-faced Spoonbills throughout the Flyway.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper is another species that has received a great deal of attention to boost breeding numbers and identify and conserve key sites throughout the Flyway. But many challenges remain to save this bird and a statement endorsed by all Partners at MOP8 identified the need to significantly ramp up actions to meet international obligations to secure the future of this species.
As I write, the first intrepid Bar-tailed Godwits and Eastern Curlews have already arrived on the Songdo mudflats and Black-faced Spoonbills have returned to their breeding islands here in Korea. It is encouraging that more and more welcoming events, bird festivals, tracking studies and media commentaries are highlighting the wonder of this annual migration and raising awareness and appreciation of the need to save these birds and the places they depend on to complete their journeys. The EAAFP Secretariat is developing a #WelcomeWaterbirds webpage to document these efforts and follow the migration. We welcome your suggestions and input to develop and expand this initiative. The World Migratory Bird Day materials to celebrate migration in EAAF will be soon on our website. Please assist us in translation of the materials into your own languages.
AMBI Workplan approved by CAFF Board and Senior Arctic officials of the Arctic Council Click