New Photo Book Celebrates the 2016 Caribbean Waterbird Census

The striking White Ibis uses its long down-curved bill to probe for prey in shallow water. It is locally common on some wetlands in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, including Cuba, Turks and Caicos, Islands, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands and Jamaica. (photo by David Raynor)
The striking White Ibis uses its long down-curved bill to probe for prey in shallow water. It is locally common on some wetlands in the Bahamas and Greater Antilles, including Cuba, Turks and Caicos Islands, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands and Jamaica. (photo by David Raynor)

Earlier this year we asked our dedicated partners in the Caribbean who participate in the Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC) to share their experiences and some photos with us. We are grateful to those that took the time to do so. Some of these photos were shared on our BirdsCaribbean Instagram and published on Wetlands International’s website in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census (of which the CWC is a part), under the theme, The Biggest Count Ever. We’ve taken the stories and photos and turned them into a beautiful Shutterfly book that you can purchase or view online!

From stilts to sandpipers, ducks to dowitchers, a great diversity of waterbirds were observed and counted by over 260 participants in our 7th annual CWC, including large concentrations of waterbirds in previously unknown sites and many sightings of threatened birds, such as the Piping Plover and Red Knot. We want to thank everyone for making the 2016 regional CWC count another great success (although 2016 is not over and we hope folks are still out there doing their fall migration counts!).

Engaging the local community is key in achieving long-term success for waterbird conservation in the Dominican Republic.
Engaging the local community is key in achieving long-term success for waterbird conservation in the Dominican Republic.

This book was created in honor of the fine work that our partners are doing, such as Maria Paulino from the Dominican Republic, who understands the value of the CWC in engaging communities as well as contributing to science and conservation.

Maria commented, “During the time we’ve been doing this count we have come to realize that our country has a wealth that man can put no economic value on; it is a gift from nature that is still hidden for many. We have discovered the wonders of our wetlands thanks to these counts, and realized that bird species we once considered rare are actually quite common, that these species are there and are part of our fauna. These counts have also served to involve communities so that they can learn about, appreciate and care for these wetlands. We as a group have managed to integrate new people in the counts and they have learned to regard wetlands differently, because they see a great number of beautiful birds. We have also discovered new places in our country with a variety of wonderful birds. It is a pleasure to be a part of the CWC – we are committed to continuing monitoring and protecting wetland habitats, and we look forward to expanding our counts elsewhere in the future.”

The CWC is also an excellent tool for engaging young people to learn about birds, as demonstrated by the National Environment Planning Agency in Jamaica.
The CWC is also an excellent tool for engaging young people to learn about birds, as demonstrated by the National Environment Planning Agency in Jamaica.

Andrea Otto and her team, members of the Environmental Awareness Group in Antigua, as well as many others noted the impact the drought has been having on the region’s wetlands and waterbirds and the vital importance of conservation. “Many areas were devoid of water, highlighting the importance of more permanent wetlands, like McKinnon’s Pond, where the team sighted many species of ducks, shorebirds, herons, egrets and seabirds,” declared Andrea. “The presence of all these birds and many more at McKinnon’s Pond in spite of the severe drought, has cemented its absolute importance as a wetland which should be preserved with herculean effort.”

Below we share with you a small selection of photos from the 2016 CWC, but you can see many more and read stories about the birds that were seen via the link to the Shutterfly book. We will be giving away two copies of this photo book to persons that participated in the 2016 CWC (random drawing). To learn how to participate in the CWC, visit this link – all are welcome!

One of the CWC surveyors at Ashton Lagoon, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (photo by Kristy Shortte)
One of the CWC surveyors at Ashton Lagoon, Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (photo by Kristy Shortte)

 

CWC surveyors at Wheeland Pond, Turks and Caicos Islands. (photo by Eric Salamanca)
CWC surveyors at Wheeland Pond, Turks and Caicos Islands. (photo by Eric Salamanca)

 

A group of Lesser Yellowlegs rests in the shallow water in a Curacao wetland. (photo by Robyn Fidanque)
A group of Lesser Yellowlegs rests in the shallow water in a Curacao wetland. (photo by Robyn Fidanque)

 

Fernando Simal braving the elements during Bonaire's CWC. (photo by Lisa Sorenson)
Fernando Simal braving the elements during Bonaire’s CWC. (photo by Lisa Sorenson)

 

CWC surveyors in The Bahamas. (photo by David Jones)
CWC surveyors in The Bahamas. (photo by David Jones)

 

A flock of Sanderlings feeds along the beach at Cayo Jutia, Cuba. (photo by Alieny Gonzalez)
A flock of Sanderlings feeds along the beach at Cayo Jutia, Cuba. (photo by Alieny Gonzalez)