By: Forester Eddie G. Duhaylungsod
Bislig City, Surigao del Sur (08 February 2017). A total of 7,155 waterbirds from the 28 species of waterbirds and other wetland-dependent birds were counted during the recent Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) conducted at Pamanlinan River, Sitio San Juan, Pamanlinan, this city.
Intermediate Egret with 6,300 was the most dominant waterbird species during the census. Other birds species identified are Philippine Duck, Greenshank, White-Throated Kingfisher, White-Collared Kingfisher, Barn Swallow, Terek Sandpiper, Yellow Bittern, Common Sandpiper, Oriole, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Purple Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Chestnut Munia, Javan Pond Heron, Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, Marsh Sandpiper, Osprey, Black Bittern, Starling, Raven, Pied Thriller, Pied Tattler, Owl, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret and Little Egret.
Team from PENRO-Surigao del Sur, CENRO-Bislig, BLGU-Bislig City and BLGU-Pamanlinan jointly conducted the AWC and identification on January 21, 2017 between 7:00-10:00 o’clock in the morning and 2:00- 6:00 o’clock in the afternoon using the Team’s naked eyes, binoculars and spotting scope as part of the AWC – Southeast Asia and International Waterbird Census (IWC) this year.
The Asian Waterbird Count (AWC) is an annual event and takes place once a year, during the second and third weeks of January. Specifically, for AWC 2017 counts are from Saturday 7th to Sunday 22nd January, covering two weeks and three weekends.
AWC was initiated in 1987 which covers South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Australasia. The nine member countries under the AWC- Southeast Asia composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam, and Philippines are annually conducted the AWC as segment of IWC.
Said census aims to provide the basis for estimates of waterbird population; monitor changes in waterbird numbers and distribution by regular, standardized counts of representative wetlands; improve knowledge of little-known waterbird species and wetland sites; identify and monitor sites that are important for waterbirds in general and, more specifically, identifying and monitoring sites that qualify as Wetlands of International Importance (WII) under the Ramsar Convention and the Flyway Site Network under EAAFP; provide information on the conservation status of waterbird species, for use by international agreements; increase awareness of the importance of waterbirds and their wetland habitats at local, national and international level and; Build and strengthen national networks of enthusiastic volunteers and facilitate their training.
International Waterbird Census (IWC) commenced in January 1967, a site-based counting program for monitoring waterbird numbers as an indicator for status of wetland sites and population of waterbird species, recognized as an indispensable source of information for policies to protect and manage wetlands and the waterbirds. (Eddie Duhaylungsod / JSN/PENRO-SDS).