Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa Strategy and manual
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Waterbird and site monitoring along the © BirdLife International, Wetlands International & Common Wadden Sea Secretariat Atlantic coast of Africa: Any part of this publication may be copied, used or adapted for training or awareness-raising purposes, providing the sources are referenced and relevant authors / photographers are acknowledged. strategy and manual Compilation: Marc van Roomen1,2, Simon Delany3, Tim Dodman1, Lincoln Fishpool4, Szabolcs Nagy5, Ademola Ajagbe4, Geoffroy Citegetse4 & Abdoulaye Ndiaye6 in cooperation with the participants of the CMB/WSFI workshop in Dakar June 2012. 1 Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative 2 Sovon, Dutch Centre for field ornithology 3 Delany Environmental 4 BirdLife International 5 Wetlands International 6 AEWA African Initiative, Technical Support Unit This publication should be cited as: van Roomen M., Delany S., Dodman T., Fishpool L., Nagy S., Ajagbe A., Citegetse G. & Ndiaye A. 2014. Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual. BirdLife International, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Lay-out: Blue Robin dtp / Arnold Meijer Photographs: Dave Montreuil, Bernd de Bruijn, Barend van Gemerden, Peter de Boer & Arnold Meijer Production: Doorwerk / Nadja Jansma Printing: GrafiServices Photographs cover: f ront: Bar-tailed Godwit, Greater Flamingo (Arnold Meijer), Royal Tern (Dave Montreuil) back: Great White Pelican (Dave Montreuil) This publication is also available in French and Portuguese Developed by the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project as supported by MAVA Foundation and Vogel- bescherming Nederland and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) as supported by the governments of The Netherlands (Ministry of Economic Affairs through the Programme Rich Wadden Sea) and Germany (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety). These projects are carried out under the coordination of BirdLife International, Common Wadden Sea Secretariat and Wetlands International. BirdLife International Common Wadden Sea Secretariat Wetlands International Wellbrook Court, Virchowstrasse 1 PO Box 471 Girton Road D-26382, Wilhelmshaven 6700 AL Wageningen Cambridge, CB3 0NA Germany The Netherland United Kingdom www.waddensea-secretariat.org www.wetlands.org www.birdlife.org
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 4 5 Contents Forword 4.2.2 Mobilizing and maintaining resources25 Summary 4.2.3 The site inventory 26 4.2.4 The observer network 29 Acknowledgements 4.2.5 Planning and organizing fieldwork30 1. Introduction 12 4.2.6 Compiling and checking the data 31 1.1 ackground and aims of this B 4.2.7 National reporting 32 document12 4.2.8 Submitting the data for 1.2 How to use this document 13 international use 32 1.3 Definitions used in this document 13 4.3 Site coordinator and field worker 32 4.3.1 Rewards of being site 2. State of monitoring in coordinator and field worker 32 the region 15 4.3.2 Skills and tasks 33 2.1 Why monitoring 15 4.4 Non-breeding waterbird counting 33 2.1.1 National policies and 4.4.1 Geographic boundaries of international obligations 15 the site and counting units 33 2.1.2 Site level conservation and 4.4.2 When to count 33 management 16 4.4.3 Which species 33 2.2 Current state of monitoring in 4.4.4 Equipment 33 the region 17 4.4.5 Which methods 34 2.3 Current state of capacity in 4.4.6 Submitting the data 37 the region 18 4.5 Breeding waterbird counting 37 2.4 Conclusions and 4.6 Assessment of environmental recommendations 19 conditions38 4.6.1 Introduction38 3. The monitoring strategy 20 4.6.2 Which Sites 38 3.1 Cooperation between existing 4.6.3 Timing of visits 38 programmes 20 4.6.4 Which threats to record 38 3.2 Non-breeding waterbirds 21 4.6.5 How to record threats 39 3.3 Breeding waterbirds 22 4.6.6 How to record habitat 40 3.4 Environmental conditions 22 4.6.7 How to record conservation 3.5 Capacity development 22 actions 41 3.6 Implementation of this strategy 23 4.6.8 Scoring threats, habitat and conservation actions 42 4. Monitoring manual 24 4.6.9 Submitting the data 42 4.1 The team 24 4.2 National coordination 24 5. References and further 4.2.1 Rewards and tasks of being reading 43 national coordinator 24 photo Arnold Meijer / Blue Robin Eurasian Oystercatcher, specialist forager on shellfish.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 6 7 Foreword My first waterbird counts were in the Tagus estuary, Portugal in 1977. We were 6 or 7 enthusiastic young lads led by an English ornithologist. I was 18 years old and like the rest of us I didn’t believe counting flocks of waders was possible! In those times the annual winter bird counts were organ- ised by the International Waterfowl Research Bureau (IWRB). Few of the members of this pre-historic counting team followed an ornithological career but they’re all fond of birds and they all plead for the cause of conservation. Bird counts were a key factor to reset modern ornithology in Portugal. Tony Prater came back the year after to carry on counts and train a local team of youngsters in wader counting and research. Setting up a national ringing scheme just followed under the auspices of the Ministry of the Environment, and the first breeding bird atlas was published in 1989. A few years later a private society for the conservation of birds emerged and became the national representative of Birdlife International in Portugal (SPEA - Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves). The organisation of bird counts will improve public awareness and care for birds and biodiversity in general. However, knowing bird numbers is also important to evaluate population trends and improve knowledge on the phenology of bird migration. Waterbird censuses are valuable to iden- tify key stop-over sites during migration and wintering hot spots. The number of birds visiting a wetland is a good indicator to assert its ecological importance, and International classification criteria are often based on that measure. Without having detailed information on bird numbers at a site it will never be eligible for the Ramsar convention for instance. Nevertheless, the usefulness and consistency of the results obtained doing bird census depends on the level of expertise of the observers and the respect of methodologies well established inter- nationally. We are dealing with estimates but the accuracy of the counts is important to support reliable decision making, concerning bird populations and site management at local and global levels all along the flyways. We all agree that, without good basic training, material and perseverance, bird monitoring will be less effective. Marathon runners cannot win without training regularly and good training shoes. Likewise training, telescopes, binoculars and bird-guides are needed to keep counters in shape. Last weekend I was on the beach observing migrant spoonbills heading north along the shore line close to Nouakchott, Mauritania and when I saw the groups coming my first instinct was to count them! I’m no longer a bird counter like I used to be but I keep binoculars at close range to keep in shape and to be sure not to induce in error the ones trusting my counts. The present manual is especially dedicated to bird count coordinators and field ornithologists operating along the western seaboard of Africa. It provides useful and comprehensive informa- tion, sensible enough to ease the establishment of monitoring strategies and bird count networks. It will help newcomers understanding what waterbird counts are all about, and why they are important. Its scope goes far beyond a simple bird count manual and I am sure it will represent an important contribution to further establish effective waterbird monitoring in the region. Enjoy it photo and keep counting! Arnold Meijer / Blue Robin Antonio Araujo Manager, West Africa Programme, MAVA Foundation Member of the advisory board of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative Flock of Dunlin and Red Knot moving to a high-tide roost.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 8 9 Summary The wetlands of the Atlantic coast of Western Africa are of utmost importance for waterbird popula- tions, other biodiversity and people alike. For proper policy and management of these resources monitoring is an important tool. It helps in providing an early warning of negative developments and provides evaluation of taken measurements. Countries in the region require monitoring data as the basis of site management decisions, national conservation strategies and international obligations. This document provides both a strategy on the collection of monitoring data, concentrating on num- bers of waterbirds and the environmental conditions of their sites, and provides a practical manual showing how to carry out this monitoring, both for coordinators and fieldworkers. Waterbirds are relatively easy to quantify and they are sensitive to the quality of their environment. This makes them important indicators of the ecological quality of the sites they use. This document is developed in the framework of the Conservation of Migratory Birds project and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative. A cooperation between BirdLife International, Wetlands Interna- tional, several organizations involved in the monitoring and conservation of the Wadden Sea and stakeholders in Western Africa, both government and non-government. It results from a work- shop in Dakar in June 2012 and builds on the methods of the International Waterbird Census and the Important Bird Areas Programmes. The monitoring strategy consists of: ounts of non breeding Waterbirds: ■ C ■ at a selected sample of sites or sub-sites to provide the basis of population trend analysis - every year in January; ■ at as many sites as possible (‘Total Count’) to provide the basis of waterbird population estimates - every six years as a minimum in January; ■ in other months of the year to gain an understanding of seasonal variations and importance in other months- in months with peak numbers, sometimes every month, July as a priority if possible. ounts of breeding Waterbirds ■ C ■ Complete survey of all colonies - every three - six years; ■ Selected sample of sites - every year; egistration of environmental conditions, threats and conservation measures at sites ■ R -during every visit. The manual gives information for coordinators about how to make a site inventory, how to organ- ize an observer network, how to organize the field work, what to provide to observers including maps with boundaries of sites and counting units, how to compile the data and use them for national purposes and submit them for international use. It gives information for field observers on how to count waterbirds, which equipment to use and how to submit the data. For the moni- toring of environmental conditions, threats and conservation measures detailed guidelines are given on how to score these following IBA guidelines. It is hoped that this strategy and manual will help in the further conservation and sustainable use photo of the coastal wetlands of Western Africa. For this, cooperation along the whole flyway and within Dave Montreuil the region will be important. Success will be dependent on funds becoming available from within Roosting waders (Grey Plover, and outside the region enabling training of field workers and the carrying out of the necessary Common Ringed Plover), Common monitoring activities and analyses of the data. Tern and Grey-headed Gull.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 10 11 Acknowledgements This document results from a fruitful cooperation between the Conservation of Migratory Birds project and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative. In June 2012 a workshop was organized in Dakar, Senegal involving National Coordinators from the region and many other stakeholders. During this workshop the monitoring strategy for the region was developed and in the months after the workshop a draft of the manual was prepared. Both strategy and manual were tested during the counts in January 2013 and January 2014 adding to the further development. The MAVA foundation (Switzerland), Vogelbescherming the Netherlands, the Ministry of Eco- nomic Affairs, the Netherlands through the Programme Rich Wadden Sea and the Ministry of Envi- ronment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, are thanked for providing funding for the Conservation of Migratory Birds project and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative making the development of this monitoring strategy and manual possible. Steering of this work was provided by Gerold Lüerßen (Common Wadden Sea Secretariat), Manon Tentij and Bernard Baerends (Programme Rich Wadden Sea), Oliver Schall and Stephanie Hedt- kamp (Government of Germany, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety), Jan Steinbring Jensen (Naturstyrelsen Ribe, Denmark), Franz Bairlein (Institute of Avian Research), Florian Keil (AEWA), Antonio Araujo (MAVA Foundation), Klaus Günther (JMMB), John Frikke (JMBB, JMMB), Peter Südbeck (Nationalparkverwaltung Nds. Wat- tenmeer), Piet van den Hout (NIOZ), Barend van Gemerden (BirdLife International) and Gerard Boere. Important feedback and discussions on the contents of this strategy and manual took place with Zein El Abidine and Yelli Diawara (Mauritania), Ibrahima Diop and Abdou Salan Kane (Senegal), Kawsu Jammeh and Lamine Sagnah (Gambia), Joãozinho Sá and Hamilton Monteiro (Guinea- Bissau), Namory Keita and Mohamed Balla Moussa Conde (Guinea), Papanie Bai Sesay (Sierra Leone), Germain Bomisso (Cote d’Ivoire), Charles C. Amankwah (Ghana), Gordon Ajonina and Napoleon Chi (Cameroon), Alphonsine Koumba Mfoubou (Gabon) and Jérôme Mokoko (Congo). We thank them all. photo Arnold Meijer / Blue Robin Whimbrel, specialist feeder on crustaceans.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 12 13 he Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) ■ T 1.3 Definitions used in this project aims for local partner development document and strong government - non-government 1. Introduction cooperation in West African countries for the benefit for better conservation of migra- tory birds. Improving monitoring is one of Atlantic coast of Africa All countries from Africa bordering the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to South Africa. They are the tools towards this aim. part of the East Atlantic Flyway. Aims & objectives Coastal zone 1.1 Background and aims of this he International Waterbird Census (IWC) ■ T he purpose of this monitoring strategy and ■ T This includes in principal sites under tidal influ- document programme as coordinated by Wetlands manual is to improve the level of information ence or within 30 km of the coasts. Sites fur- International (Delany et al. 1999) collect for conservation and management through ther from the sea that are part of wetland Background monitoring data on waterbirds during simul- intensified, expanded and harmonized moni- complexes affected by tidal processes will also ■ The wetlands of the coastal zone of Western taneous counts at many sites and countries toring of waterbird species and their sites be included. Africa are among the world’s natural won- during especially January when many north- using IBA and IWC methodology. ders and are of utmost importance for ern migrants are present. Also this pro- Site waterbird populations, other biodiversity gramme needs expansion and improvement he IWC Programme will provide data on ■ T Sites are biologically different in character or and human beings alike. Countries in the in the region, although good information waterbird numbers, distribution and popula- habitat from the surrounding land (or deeper region require monitoring data about these has been collected in the past already (for tion trends at different spatial scales. open sea) and provides all the requirements of sites as the basis of site management deci- instance Diagana & Dodman 2006, 2007, the birds during the time they are present. For sions, national conservation strategies and Altenburg et al. 1982, Triplet & Yesou 1998, he IBA Programme will provide data on the ■ T many wetlands this definition is easy as a wet- international obligations. Schepers et al. 1998, Trolliet & Fouget 2004, state of wetland sites (in addition to bird land often stands out against the surrounding van der Winden et al. 2007, Zwarts 1988). numbers, also the state of the habitat itself), habitat. However when the wetland habitat is irdLife International’s Important Bird and ■ B the pressures which threaten them, and data very large and continuous it becomes much Biodiversity Areas (IBA) programme (Fish- he Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) aims, ■ T on conservation responses taken at the sites. more difficult to define separate sites. In that pool & Evans 2001) collect monitoring data among others, to promote and enhance Inte- case arbitrary decisions need sometimes to be on the state of bird populations and environ- grated monitoring along the whole coastal hrough continuing monitoring by IWC and ■ T made. It is best to follow the boundaries of mental conditions and pressures at site level. East Atlantic Flyway for especially migratory IBA methodologies, priorities for manage- already protected or potentially protected In principal this programme can provide a lot populations (van Roomen et al. 2013). This ment and conservation actions can be sites (including their buffer zones) as Ramsar of the monitoring information required but it initiative seeks to address priority gaps in decided and the effectiveness of measures sites, National Parks and Important Bird Areas. is in need of consolidation and expansion in monitoring. The Atlantic coast of Africa is taken can be assessed. This monitoring will Where such protected sites do not exist or are the region. such a gap within the East Atlantic Flyway. provide a basis for more effective manage- overlooked or are not defined yet it is best to ment and conservation of the waterbirds and use logical geographical units (often also cor- wetlands of the Atlantic coast of Africa. responding with (local) geographical names). y using these data, together with data from ■ B Counting unit other sites along the East Atlantic Flyway in Sites are often subdivided in counting units to Europe, information can be summarized at organize the counting of the site in a well different spatial scales and the conservation organized way and to describe distribution of status of waterbirds at flyway level can be waterbirds within a site. It enables to organize assessed. the count among different observers to per- form the count in a simultaneous way. A counting unit is a part of the total site which 1.2 How to use this document can be counted more or less completely by one or a small group of observers in 2-4 hours. his document is aimed for coordinators and ■ T field workers (or aspirant coordinators and Sub-site or monitoring site fieldworkers) involved in waterbird and site Large sites are often to big to count annually monitoring in the region. for monitoring purposes. In that case it is best photo to select a logical part of a site for this annual fter a short assessment of the state of mon- ■ A monitoring. It could be one counting unit or a Dave Montreuil itoring in the region (chapter 2), most atten- combination of counting units. It is important tion is given to the future strategy for that the birds in this sub-site/monitoring site waterbird and site monitoring (chapter 3) act more or less separately from other (groups) Great White Pelicans, Pink-backed Pelicans and Gull-billed Terns. and the manual how to carry out this moni- of birds at other parts of the site and that the toring (chapter 4). sub-site/monitoring site gives a good sample
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 14 15 of the species and the numbers occurring at bills, Flamingos, Gulls and Terns. Also certain the total site. seabird families (Petrels, Tropicbirds, Boobies and Frigatebirds) breed in colonies in the West Non-breeding waterbirds This term refers to waterbirds outside the African coastal zone and should be included in the monitoring. This strategy and manual gives 2. State of Monitoring breeding phase of their life-cycle. It includes intra-African migrant and non-migratory waterbird species as well as those which breed some information on the monitoring of breed- ing birds, but mostly it will point to other pub- lications were it is treated more extensively. in the region in the arctic, boreal, temperate and Mediterra- nean regions and migrate to Africa after the Environmental conditions breeding season each year, returning north to Environmental conditions are defined as (a) breed the following year. This strategy and the (a)biotic characteristics of sites, (b) the 2.1 Why monitoring counts of as many as possible of the sites manual focusses especially on species which environmental and/or anthropogenic pres- used by a particular species and population congregate at specific wetland sites in the sures on sites and (c) the conservation meas- 2.1.1 N ational policies and international at a given season. non-breeding season. ures at sites. By following these conditions obligations over the years monitoring of these conditions t the international level, information on ■ A Breeding waterbirds becomes possible. oordinated monitoring of wetland sites ■ C total population sizes and trends are very Wetland sites are also important for breeding and waterbirds at national level contributes important for assessment of conservation waterbirds. Especially species which congre- strongly to effective national level conserva- priorities globally, including the African-Eur- gate to breed in colonies offer good possibili- tion and protection measures and nature asian region. They are used in the IUCN Red ties for monitoring and represent important conservation legislation. This contributes to List of Threatened Species, in the Wetlands wetland values. In the Atlantic zone of Africa National Biodiversity Strategies and Action International Conservation status report for the following families include species with a Plans that follow from them. AEWA, and in the Waterbird Population Esti- tendency to breed colonially: Pelicans, Cor- mates report for the Ramsar Convention. morants, Herons, Egrets, Storks, Ibises, Spoon- Tunisia synthesis of results from all sites will ■ A Within AEWA, the number of populations for underpin national site conservation priori- which good quality data are available to Morocco ties and policies and will allow the effective- allow accurate assessment of conservation Algeria Libya ness of such policies to be measured. status is still small. ll countries that sign up to the Multilateral ■ A Mauritania Environmental Agreements and other forms Mali Niger Cape Verde of international cooperation (see table 1) Chad Figure 1. The region covered by the Strategy The Gambia Senegal such as the Abidjan Convention (focussing Guinea-Bissau Burkina Faso showing (A) the East Atlantic flyway and (B) the Guinea on the Atlantic coast of Africa), Convention Benin Nigeria countries in Africa bordering the Atlantic ocean Sierra Leone Togo on Biological Diversity (CBD), Ramsar Con- Cote d'IvoryGhana Liberia Cameroon vention on Wetlands, and the African Eura- sian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA ) Equatorial Guinea Sao Tome and Principe Gabon Congo embrace, internationally agreed standards for biodiversity management in their coun- Congo, DRC tries. The implementation of many resolu- tions and action plans included in these instruments calls for proper national-level Angola monitoring. National reports, mostly at a three-yearly intervals, need to be prepared, giving data on the status of biodiversity and level of protection of sites. photo Namibia Arnold Meijer / Blue Robin ne of the important criteria for the selec- ■ O South Africa tion of key sites of national and international levels of significance is the so called 1% threshold developed under the Ramsar con- vention. This represents 1% of the estimated population size of a particular flyway or bio- A. East Atlantic Flyway, shown in blue B. Western half of Africa with the countries bordering geographic population. These population Greater Flamingo. Large numbers occur at the Atlantic Ocean sizes can only be estimated accurately and West African coastal wetlands. updated after coordinated and simultaneous
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 16 17 trend in numbers of international popula- monitoring schemes can be found in table 2. tions of each species. It gives information on Despite differences between countries, con- the overall conservation status of popula- siderable efforts have already been made. Table 1. Ratification (Y=yes, N=no) by countries included in this Strategy of the Convention on Biological tions across all the sites they use. By com- For the IBA programme, monitoring is cur- Diversity, African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) and paring population trends at the site or rently only carried out in countries with a the Abidjan Convention (situation December 2014). Countries listed from North to South along the flyway. national level with these international level national BirdLife partner organisation. trends, assessment of how the conservation CBD AEWA Ramsar Abidjan status of all the species at a site, or all the number of the important sites in the region ■ A sites in a country, are doing in comparison have been visited by expeditions from Morocco Y Y Y N with the international trend becomes possi- Europe in cooperation with local partners. Mauritania Y Y Y Y ble. Information on bigger increases or Counts of non-breeding birds derived in this Senegal Y Y Y Y decreases at site level in comparison with way give important information on total the international trend can provide better numbers but are not carried on a regular Cape Verde Y N Y N insight into the possible causes behind these basis and different key sites have not been The Gambia Y Y Y Y trends. These international trends can only counted in the same years, which make the be estimated by repeated counts at a repre- interpretation of results more difficult. Guinea-Bissau Y Y Y Y sentative selection of sites across their Guinea Y Y Y Y range. ver the years, sometimes different site ■ O Sierra Leone Y N Y Y definitions have been used and uncertainty ata on waterbird numbers and trends can ■ D exists about the completeness of counts. Liberia Y N Y Y also be used as indicators, both related to This makes assessment of numbers in Ivory Coast Y Y Y Y abiotic and biotic factors or factors related to important sites and comparison of numbers human use. As such, waterbird monitoring is over the years (monitoring) difficult. Ghana Y Y Y Y a very cost effective way to follow develop- Togo Y Y Y Y ments of many other different factors related or most breeding birds no long term moni- ■ F to management and conservation. toring is carried out in the region yet. How- Benin Y Y Y Y ever for several colony breeding species in Nigeria Y Y Y Y West Africa, data of important sites have Cameroun Y N Y Y 2.2 Current state of monitoring in been summarized and more and more the region attention is given to simultaneous counts Equatorial Guinea Y Y Y N and assessment of reproduction (Veen et al. São Tomé and Príncipe Y N Y N he historical and current extent of the par- ■ T 2007). ticipation of each country in the IWC and IBA Gabon Y Y Y Y Congo Y Y Y Y DR Congo Y N Y Y Angola Y N N N Namibia Y N Y N South Africa Y Y Y Y 2.1.2 Site-level conservation and in conservation status can be detected and management effectiveness of measures taken can be assessed. photo ffective site management requires moni- ■ E Barend van Gemerden photo toring of the important biodiversity present, his monitoring can be used as the basis ■ T of possible threats to the conservation status for adaptive management, which allows Bernd de Bruijn of the site and its species, and of conserva- management priorities to be decided and tion and management measures under- appropriate conservation policies to be taken. established, according to the situation and the need at a particular time. Doing fieldwork: counting birds. Mixed group of waders and herons on emerging y monitoring, (meaning repeated, stand- ■ B mudflat. ardised measurements over time), changes n important tool for site managers is the ■ A
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 18 19 Table 2. Duration and level of participation of countries of the Atlantic coast of Africa in the IWC and IBA monitoring programmes (situation December 2014). Number of IBAs refers to coastal wetland sites only. Countries listed from North to South along the flyway. First IWC Most recent No. of years No. of IBAs Participating counts in IWC counts in IWC data (Fishpool & in IBA database Database Evans 2001) monitoring Morocco 1968 2013 33 20 Yes Mauritania 1972 2014 29 5 No Senegal 1958 2014 44 14 No Cape Verde 2006 2006 1 1 No The Gambia 1998 2014 8 5 No Guinea-Bissau 1987 2014 7 7 No Guinea 1999 2014 11 5 No Sierra Leone 1992 2014 13 2 Yes Liberia 2005 2014 2 1 Yes Ivory Coast 1991 2014 15 1 No Ghana 1996 2014 10 6 No Togo 1999 2014 8 0 - Benin 1996 2014 13 2 No photo Nigeria 1999 2014 8 1 Yes Dave Montreuil Cameroon 1984 2014 20 0 - Equatorial Guinea - - 0 1 No São Tomé and Príncipe - - 0 1 Yes White-faced Whistling-ducks, common in the freshwater wetlands and rice fields. Gabon 1992 2014 10 3 No Congo 1997 2014 5 0 - DR Congo 2001 2014 6 0 - of data and the usage of this data for national a kick start for a monitoring project of col- policy and management. ony breeders in the region. Angola 1999 2014 3 2 No Namibia 1976 2014 32 11 Yes 2.4 Conclusions and n improvement in the frequency and rigour ■ A South Africa 1992 2013 22 14 Yes recommendations of work under these existing programmes, achievable through a programme of capac- he IBA and IWC programmes provide an ■ T ity development and international coopera- excellent framework for monitoring wet- tion, will allow much improved monitoring 2.3 C urrent state of capacity in n the other hand, resources are scarce and ■ O lands in the Western African coastal zone. as a basis for conservation and management the region number of skilled field workers are often not However their implementation to date has activities at local, national and international more than five-ten per country working with been insufficiently regular and complete. levels. ver the years a growing capacity in capabil- ■ O relatively few equipment. Also turn-over in ities for monitoring is present in the region. persons is relatively high making long-term he monitoring of breeding birds is in its ■ T etailed communication and finance strate- ■ D In most countries National coordinators are improvements more difficult and continued early stage but activities through the Alcyon gies are needed to ensure that monitoring present working with skilled field workers to training important. Project, coordinated by BirdLife Interna- can be extended and continued into the carry out counts. Besides governmental tional and MAVA funded, on seabirds of the future as contributions to the continued institutions, more and more NGO’s are ■ In general, more capacity is needed in the West African coastal zone, including survey management and conservation of West Afri- involved as well. set-up of monitoring programmes, storage of colonies of terns and gulls, could provide can coastal wetlands and its species.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 20 21 Figure 2. Counting of sites (1-4) with a varying frequency. In January all sites are counted giving the possibility of adding the results together (something which is advisable for July as well). The counts in the other months give additional information on seasonal patterns and maximum numbers of birds using the site. 3. The monitoring strategy Síte Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Monitoring of sites with 3.1 C ooperation between existing he implementation of the monitoring strat- ■ T different intensity programmes egy will also be carried out in cooperation with the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative, Afri- he waterbird monitoring strategy derives ■ T can Initiative as coordinated by AEWA and from existing projects and programmes in other appropriate projects and programmes. Monitoring of species the region and will add value to their outputs. through simultaneous Count he timing of monitoring activities will be ■ T count evelopment of the internationally coordi- ■ D harmonized with the need for monitoring nated, but nationally focussed IWC and IBA data on site, national and international level programmes, as coordinated by Wetlands to enable the best use of this knowledge. International en BirdLife International, will See table 3 for an overview of international Figure 3. Comparison of theoretical results based on a yearly and six yearly counting programme. The depicted provide a solid information base for the reporting cycles. It needs to be realized that timing of total counts is also theoretical, the exact timing will be decided with stakeholders involved. management and conservation of wetlands the field work to be used for such reporting and waterbirds at national level, while con- should be finished much earlier to allow for Total counts 6 year interval tributing to the international obligations of database storage, analyses and technical each country. reporting of the field data. It is advised that periodic assessments of the results of the he implementation of the monitoring strat- ■ T monitoring will be ready to be used together number of birds egy will depend on strong commitment by for both the Ramsar Convention and AEWA both government and non-governmental Agreement. organizations in the region and good collab- oration between them. Yearly counts sample of sites Table 3. Long-term timeline of output including waterbird monitoring data for international conservation initiatives. WPE is the global Waterbird Population Estimates in the framework of the Ramsar convention, CSR is the Conservation Status report of waterbirds in the framework of the AEWA agreement. 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 Instrument 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Ramsar WPE6 WPE7 WPE8 WPE9 3.2 Non-breeding waterbirds month for additional visits. See Figure 2 AEWA CSR6 CSR7 CSR8 CSR9 for an example of a counting scheme with onitoring of waterbirds in the non-breed- ■ M varying intensity. ing season will involve two approaches (a. and b. below) using similar methodology: b. Total counts at a minimum frequency of every six years in January at as many sites a. Yearly counts at a sample of relatively as possible, including all the most impor- small and accessible set of sites (or sub- tant ones and the ones counted under a. sites/monitoring units within large sites) The results of this total count will give photo photo to provide the basis of waterbird popula- information on total bird numbers in the tion trends. Priority month for counts is region, and information on key sites which Bernd de Bruijn Bernd de Bruijn January. If possible some of these sites cannot be counted in the yearly pro- can also be counted more frequently dur- gramme. It will also be possible to use data ing the season to get data on seasonal from these counts to validate trend esti- Group of waders foraging on the last available mudflats Soft mudflats can make counting difficult. patterns and on site-specific seasonal mates from the yearly counts. See figure 3 before disappearing into the mangroves to roost. maxima, while for intra- African migrant of a hypothetical result based on the com- and resident species, July is an important bined data from the a. and b. approach.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 22 23 3.3 Breeding waterbirds ■ Information about the pressures and responses at sites will be collected during hile counting total numbers present at a ■ W IWC monitoring visits, where feasible. Also site is often possible for many non-breeding during visits to record breeding birds and waterbirds, this is often not the case for other (monitoring) visits, registration of breeding waterbirds because of their dis- pressures and responses using the same persed and hidden behaviour. However an methodology will be important. exception are species breeding in colonies. s with non-breeding waterbirds, it is rec- ■ A 3.5 Capacity development ommended that once every six years as a minimum a total count is organized of col- his strategy will succeed when national and ■ T ony breeding species in the region. local institutions and organizations are com- mitted to monitoring as part of their working ■ It should be investigated if and on which tasks and have agreed on a common pro- scale yearly counts of a subset of colonies is gramme. For this it will be important that the photo possible for monitoring purposes. monitoring will be beneficial for national and local policy and management. Bernd de Bruijn 3.4 Environmental conditions he strategy will succeed when enough indi- ■ T viduals have acquired the necessary coordi- ata on (a)biotic site conditions, human ■ D nation, fieldwork and data-handling skills Registration of human activities is an important part of the monitoring strategy as well as counting the birds. pressures and conservation measures will be and are collecting, exchanging and using collected by using the standards as devel- data in agreed ways. oped under the BirdLife’s IBA programme as a basis (BirdLife International 2006). uch training material is already available to ■ M train national and local policy officers, coor- onitoring demands repeated effort over ■ M dinators and observers (Dodman & Boere the long term and this strategy should be the 2010, Hecker 2012). After potential organi- springboard for a permanent, long-term zations and individuals have been identified, programme. The project coordinators approached and engaged, the next step will should devote enough time to planning the be to train them and involve them in further future of the work, developing the relation- implementation of the strategy. ships with partners and donors and raising the funds necessary for further implementa- tion of the strategy. 3.6 Implementation of this Strategy he IWC and IBA programmes are long run- ■ T ning initiatives carried out with several sources of funding and these will be contin- ued and provide in many ways the basic infrastructure for the implementation of this strategy. fter the first project period of WSFI and ■ A CMB until 2014 it is expected that new pro- ject periods will be agreed upon including photo implementation of this monitoring strategy. Barend van Gemerden Attention will be focused on capacity build- ing, funding of field work and joint analyses photo and reporting. Dave Montreuil ■ It will also be important that governments in the region will support the programme of For counting waterbirds binoculars and a telescope work in each country. This for national pol- are needed, and sometimes also a camera to confirm Royal Terns in their breeding colony. West African wetlands are also important for breeding. icy and implementation of international observations. obligations.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 24 25 ■ As a national coordinator you have a key by BirdLife International). Where this is position within the network of stakehold- not possible, it is essential that the coordi- ers for waterbird and wetland policy, nators of each scheme cooperate closely 4. Monitoring Manual management and research. ■ You will have many contacts with all parts of the country and will be very well to minimize duplication of effort both in the field and in the office. informed about local developments. ey tasks of a national coordinator ■ K ■ Being a national coordinator gives you ■ The key tasks of a national coordinator for (and the organization you work for) a monitoring waterbirds and their sites can 4.1 The team cooperate and communicate and fulfil the good position in giving advise on conser- be summarized as: different roles. Without field workers there is vation and management at national level. ■ Mobilizing and maintaining resources for igure 4. illustrates the cooperation between ■ F no data to report, without coordination monitoring in a country; coordinators and field workers in waterbird there is no agreed counting dates and no rofile of a national coordinator ■ P ■ Maintaining a site inventory with docu- and wetland monitoring. International level summarizing reporting of results. ■ A national coordinator needs good pro- mentation of site names, site codes and coordinators liaise with coordinators at the ject management skills, good networking site maps. Also documentation of count- national level. National coordinators organ- skills and an understanding of the actual ing units and sub-sites/monitoring units ize and facilitate the cooperation with the 4.2 National Coordination and potential importance of the data col- within a site; individual observers. In many countries, a lected for the conservation and manage- ■ Maintaining the site coordinator and number of intermediate coordinators organ- 4.2.1 R ewards and tasks of being national ment of waterbirds and their habitats. observer network, having good contacts ize observations in particular geographic coordinator ■ The national coordinator is responsible with all organisations involved, organize regions or at large, complex sites covered by for monitoring throughout the whole training and motivate and stimulate; teams of counters (site coordinators). ewards of being a national coordinator ■ R country and should be able to cooperate ■ Concrete planning and organizing of the ■ As a national coordinator you are able to with different stakeholders and build field work, ensuring appropriate, rigorous his team of involved and dedicated persons ■ T summarize the importance of your coun- strong cooperation networks. and standardized monitoring; make the monitoring work. They should try for waterbirds and their sites. ■ A national coordinator needs the social, ■ Compilation and checking of data, stimu- political and economic awareness neces- lating of a quick collection of the data, sary for maintaining the enthusiasm of a performing quality check and storage for network of observers, working with both national use; Figure 4. The relation between different practitioners in waterbird and wetland monitoring (“the team”). governmental and non-governmental ■ National reporting and facilitating opti- FW are field workers. organizations, and raising and allocating mum use of the data collected in analysis funds. and reporting for government, other ■ The national coordinator should also have institutions and stakeholders and observ- good ornithological knowledge about the ers; waterbird species found in their country ■ Submitting the data for international use. and having extensive experience with counting, waterbird monitoring and 4.2.2 Mobilizing and maintaining resources threats and environmental monitoring. From this it will be possible to give advise aking a budget and allocating funds ■ M and motivate site coordinators and field Making a realistic annual budget and preparing workers and help to raise quality and con- a strategy for allocation of funds provides the sistency of the data. framework for all activities. Optimum alloca- ■ National coordinators should have the tion between coordination, training, costs of technical skills to comfortable compiling fieldwork and equipment, data management, and managing data from observers analysis and reporting is a key part of success- (spreadsheets, database, GIS) or organize ful national coordination of a monitoring pro- this within a small group of closely coop- gramme. erating officers. Minimizing mistakes in the collected data and accuracy and ources of funding ■ S attention to detail are vital. Governments; monitoring species and sites are ■ It is most efficient if the same person in a important for national policy and manage- country organizes both waterbird moni- ment. It are also national obligations under toring under the International Waterbird many Multilateral Environmental Agreements Census programme (IWC, coordinated by (MEAs) and any government which takes its Wetlands International) and site monitor- international commitments and reputation ing at these wetlands under the Important seriously should ensure that monitoring pro- Bird Areas programme (IBA, coordinated grammes are funded.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 26 27 National institutions, both governmental and Ramsar sites, wetland IBAs, wetland National non-governmental working in the field of Parks etc.) should be included in the inventory. nature conservation, natural resources and Additional also other wetlands and sites possi- science should work together making national ble important for waterbirds should be monitoring possible by making equipment included in the inventory as well. This includes (cars, boats, gps, etc) and qualified personal also rice-fields, saltpans, harbours, sea shore available as part of their yearly work pro- etc. which can be important for waterbirds. gramme. Ideally all wetland and waterbird habitat should National and international funds; many differ- be subdivided in sites and included in the ent funds exists, both governmental and inventory. It will be good to indicate for each non-governmental in the field of nature con- site which are important for breeding and/or servation, sustainable use of resources, and non-breeding waterbirds. Based on the total (inter)national development which are open inventory choices can be made which sites or for applications. It is often beneficial to formu- parts of sites will be included in the (annual) late integrated projects, both focussing on monitoring (see below). conservation, sustainable development and the monitoring of results. Also working riority sites for annual monitoring ■ P together, both nationally and internationally, Sites for annual monitoring; to provide the photo will help in making successful applications. basis of national and international waterbird population trends, a sample of relatively small Bernd de Bruijn 4.2.3 The site inventory sites or sub-sites from large sites in each coun- try is needed where coverage can be guaran- ompiling an inventory of wetland and ■ C teed every year in January, and, ideally, July. waterbird sites in a country The approach should ensure that each site/ Discussing priorities for monitoring. An important task of the national coordinator sub-site is counted in the same way, using the of waterbird and wetland monitoring is to pre- same boundaries and counting routines, every pare and maintain an inventory of wetland year. This sample of annual sites should suit the the total number of waterbirds is present in the aps and boundaries ■ M sites in the country and sites to be covered capabilities of the observer network and can annual sample but it is important that the effort For monitoring and using monitoring results to during the monitoring. Any sites already having grow through time. Results become more and quality of the results can be maintained advise policy and management it is needed that international or national scale recognition (e.g. robust if more sites and a larger proportion of every year. both sites, counting units and sub-sites are clearly defined by boundaries depicted on maps riority sites for the Total Count ■ P (figure 5). Preferably these maps are available Sites to be included in the ‘Total Counts’ every digitally using GIS software and/or by using 3-6 years; to provide a sound basis for estimat- Google Earth and should also be available on ing the total number of individuals per country paper to be used in the field. The maps should and in international (flyway) populations, an give enough detail to ensure that observers effort should be made every three to six years know exactly which area they have to monitor. to count as many sites as possible in each Boundaries should follow natural features which country, including all the most important ones. are easy to discern in the field, and should as far For migrant and non-breeding waterbirds the as possible reflect the usage of sites by birds. month of January is best suited. For colony breeding waterbirds more species specific ite codes ■ S choices need to be made about the timing for Each site should be given a unique, short code the best results (Veen et al. 2006). These “total for use in paperwork and databases. Use of site counts” will give information on total bird codes greatly reduces errors caused by spell- numbers in the region, and information on ing mistakes and the use of different site names key-sites which cannot be counted in the by different observers. Also counting units and yearly programme. sub-sites should be given a code. Preferably photo this code should clarify the relationship dditional sites and reconnaissance surveys ■ A between counting units, sub-sites and the Bernd de Bruijn For sites which have rarely or never been mon- total site. Sites included in the IBA and IWC itored, it will be necessary to organize recon- programmes have already been given codes naissance visits to establish the importance whose use should continue. Newly covered Carrying out monitoring also requires preparatory discussions on best methods, distribution of tasks and and need for monitoring and the best counting sites should be given codes by the national studying of maps. routines. coordinator in consultation with Wetlands International and BirdLife International.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 28 29 4.2.4 The observer network methods, and in the recording of threats and site conditions, should be organized, using ■ Important task materials produced by Wetlands International, Sites, monitoring units and counting units Finding, training, motivating and maintaining a BirdLife International and others (see 1.4 network of site coordinators and field workers above). Training is most effective if it is carried is one of the most important tasks of the out at the sites to be monitored, with methods Figure 5. The site Banc d’Arguin with example of National Coordinator. explained and practiced in the field. These monitoring unit (within blue box) and counting units training visits can be used to establish the best (from Zwarts et al. 1998, Spaans 2006). The insert ources of observers ■ S routines for counting sites, identifying the within green box shows the same monitoring unit If possible, participants in monitoring should number of observers needed, the best vantage with its counting units. be attracted from both governmental and points from which to count the birds, the best non-governmental organizations. Profession- ways of getting around the sites, using maps to als such as staff working in protected areas, ensure optimum coverage, and other practical wildlife rangers, hunting inspectors and considerations. employees of Conservation NGOs should form the core of the network. The monitoring pro- llocating observers to sites ■ A gramme should also be publicized at research National Coordinators should use maps and and educational institutes, among nature the knowledge of their network to decide how guides, among local communities living close many observers will be required at each site. to sites, and among hobby birdwatchers and Small and medium sized sites, up to a few other nature enthusiasts. square km in extent, can usually be counted by two observers in up to four hours. Larger and ublicity ■ P more complex sites may require a group of Creating a network of observers will take time counters working over several days. but can be helped by good publicity. Coverage in the media generated by press releases, and ssessment ■ A other communication activities such as news- Assessing the skills of counters may be neces- letters and blogs can also generate valuable sary to evaluate the quality of data produced publicity. by monitoring and to ensure that observers are not given too much responsibility before their raining ■ T skills are sufficiently developed. This needs to When a number of observers have been found, be done sensitively to avoid discouraging training in bird identification and counting observers. photo Arnold Meijer / Blue Robin photo photo Bernd de Bruijn Bernd de Bruijn Ruddy Turnstone. At mudflat areas fringed by mangroves, waterbird counts should be done during low water. By working together during a bird count, species can be divided among the counters.
Waterbird and site monitoring along the Atlantic coast of Africa: strategy and manual 30 31 outine provision of paperwork ■ R schedule of fieldwork for their country each ■ Registration of environmental condi- send out the forms two to four weeks Once the observer network has been trained, it year, taking account of the internationally rec- tions and threats at sites -on every visit. before the visit, and that observers return is the National Coordinator’s job to ensure that ommended count dates and the optimum them promptly afterwards. One recording they are supplied with the manuals, maps, site timing of high tides. The schedule should be chedule of fieldwork - time of day and ■ S form should be used to record waterbird protocols and recording forms (paper and/or included prominently in a newsletter sent to all counting dates numbers in each counting unit and one electronic) that they need to monitor the sites. counters at least once per year, and an addi- ■ Inland sites, without tidal influence, are form to record environmental conditions, These tasks should be done as part of an tional reminder should be sent to counters two normally counted during the morning threats and conservation measures at the annual routine, and should act as reminders to to four weeks before each count. hours or later afternoon when it is not to site in total. observers, so that, for example, observers hot and light conditions better than during receive a newsletter and new recording forms ummarized schedule of fieldwork - years ■ S mid-day. Be sure that a site is more or less istribution of maps ■ D two to four weeks before each site visit is due. and months counted on the same hours of the day It is essential to use the same boundaries for It will often also be necessary to send remind- ■ Non breeding Waterbirds each year. sites, sub-sites and counting units each year. ers to observers to submit their data. ■ Comprehensive monitoring at as many ■ Coastal sites, with tidal influence, are nor- Maps (on paper or GPS) should be used in the sites as possible to provide the basis of mally counted over the high tide period, field to ensure that this happens. National otivating observers ■ M waterbird population estimates - every allowing about four hours to cover each coordinator should ensure that site coordina- The National Coordinator is also responsible six years as a minimum in January; count unit. Mangrove areas and the nearby tors and field workers have these maps. for maintaining the enthusiasm of the network ■ Monitoring at a selected sample of sites mudflats are, however, best covered dur- by providing timely feedback on monitoring in or sub-sites to provide the basis of pop- ing low tides. Tidal cycles vary, but high 4.2.6 Compiling and checking the data the form of newsletters and reports. Being ulation trend analysis - every year in tide normally occurs every 12 ½ hours or available to answer questions and solve prob- January; so. Tidal amplitude also varies and typi- hecking recording forms ■ C lems is also very important. Observers should ■ Additional counts during the year to cally reaches two peaks each month, the National Coordinators should check that all get a feeling of ownership of their site and its gain an understanding of seasonal varia- spring tides, at full and new moon, and forms submitted to them after monitoring data, of being valued by the organizers of the tions and importance in other months- two periods of minimum difference (whether paper or electronic) have been accu- monitoring scheme, and of belonging to at months with peak numbers, between high and low tide, the neap tides, rately and completely filled out, and get back something important and influential. sometimes every month, July as a prior- at intervening mid-points. Tide tables to observers promptly with questions about ity if possible. should therefore be consulted and visits to any missing data or unlikely-seeming species 4.2.5 Planning and organizing fieldwork ■ Breeding Waterbirds sites organized on days when the tide is or count totals. ■ Complete survey - every three - six years; high between about 10:00 and 16:00. lear planning and schedule ■ C ■ Selected sample of sites - every year; ■ The traditional dates for counting under ero counts and species ‘present but not ■ Z National Coordinators should draw up a ■ Months of survey depends on species. IWC in Africa are the weekends closest to counted’ the middle of January and July each year. If a site or a counting unit is visited and no birds Weekends are chosen to accommodate are found, it is essential to submit a nil return, volunteers counting in their own time. It is so that analyses of data from the site include a best to synchronize counts as closely as zero count of each species. If it is known for possible, but some flexibility is allowed. certain that a site is dry because of drought, for National Coordinators should check example, it is acceptable to submit a nil return whether the recommended date coin- without visiting the site. cides with a suitable tide and if not, adjust If any waterbird species is present at a site but the counting date accordingly. not counted for any reason, it is also important to enter the species as being present but not istribution and retrieval of forms ■ D counted. The usual method of recording such ■ National coordinators are responsible for a species is to enter a total of -1 for any species distributing recording forms to observers that was present but not counted. before each site visit and retrieving com- pleted forms afterwards. This can be elec- ata entry and storage ■ D tronic or hard copy forms. It is important When all forms (paper or electronic) have been that observers going into the field know checked, the data should be entered into a which species they need to count and database. Using the standard excel format, as other information they are going to collect provided by Wetlands International, is a good photo and what they have to write down in their way to standardize this data entry into national note books. National Coordinator should and international databases. Dave Montreuil send a short message to all counters with this information. Wetlands International ack-ups ■ B and BirdLife International produce hard- National Coordinators should ensure that all Common Ringed Plovers in their non-breeding plumage during roosting. copy and electronic forms for use. electronic data are backed up and copies ■ It is essential that national coordinators stored in physically separate locations. Original
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