Last Friday, February 2nd, the world celebrated World Wetland Day (WWD). Several activities around the globe were aimed at illustrating the importance of wetlands to wildlife and humans. This year the main theme of WWD was Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future.
So we went out and organized a Cross Island Bird Watching Trip on Saturday February 3rd, to illustrate just that: Urban wetlands within the reach of all island inhabitants. To illustrate their functionality, their biodiversity and the problems these areas are facing. With a group total of 13 people, including guides (3), we went to visit the RAMSAR- area of the saliña of St. Michiel, a small part of the urban birding hotspot of Blue Bay and the mangrove area of Piscaderabay. All very different and very diverse, especially birdwise.
What stood out during the entire trip, was the incredible variety of bird species in each and every one of the areas we visited. All with one similar feature: water. Be it fresh water, brackish water or salt water. The shorebird diversity was enormous varying from the, now, rare Willet, the Stilt Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Reddish Egrets, Tri-colored Herons, Great Blue Herons, Common Gallinules, White-cheeked pintails and Lesser Scaup. But besides the shorebirds, the diversity of terrestrial birds encountered in all these areas was just as large. Grey Kingbirds, Yellow warblers, Crested Caracara’s, Groove-billed Ani’s with small chicks (never photographed as young), Common ground doves and the White-tailed hawk. (Take a look at the linked eBird checklists at the end of this blog-post for a complete overview)
iThe main feedback of all participants was the fact that they had never realized the diversity of birds present on the island, and the many functions of wetlands for wildlife as well as humans.
This Cross island birding trip, was the 2nd of its kind, and the third birding trip we organized in which we transport all participants by car to the birding sites, with small distances of hiking, making it very accessible to people who can not walk long distances. We will organize another bird watching trip in the beginning of March. So stay tuned!