Conectando os Pontos - Connecting the dots
Waders in north-east Brazil
Elis and I only had the opportunity to travel to Paraíba State in north-east Brazil on one occasion and that was travelling with friends Mick and Jayne to see some of the endemic north-east specialities. This meant we had little or no time to stop and look for waders, all of which we had seen or could see elsewhere.
Along the Atlantic coast of Brasil there are several stop over and wintering sites for northern hemisphere migrants such as Grey (Black-bellied) Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Red Knot.
|Grey (Black-bellied) Plover Pluvialis squatarola: Parati, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.|
We now understand that these stop over and wintering sites across the world are of vital strategic importance on a global scale for entire populations of waders. That is because they are, by and large, site faithful and are not able to simply move on if one particular site is destroyed or degraded (witness the 90,000 disappearing Great Knots of Saemanguem in South Korea and the displaced Common Redshanks in Cardiff Bay, Wales).
|Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus; Parati, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.|
We were particularly excited to hear about this project for two reasons. One was that it aimed to involve the community and therefore fitted in very well with our Community Wader Conservation theme and also of course because it is taking place in our beloved Brazil.
|Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus: Galveston, Texas, USA.|
This project is looking at the Ilha da Restinga in the Paraíba do Norte River estuary located in Cabedelo, Paraíba State, north-eastern Brazil which is the location of one of these stop over and wintering sites.
Most of the people who live or frequent the area have no knowledge about the fantastic challenges that these birds endured to be there. The project, which is being led by Roberta Costa Rodrigues of the Universidade Federal da Paraíba - UFPB has two main aims. Firstly to show aspects of the biology of migratory birds to students from public and private schools in the city, and secondly to engender a sense of pride among the local human population that every year they receive these birds that are studied by many researchers in several countries along their respective flyways. The intention is to produce educational material explaining the concept of migration and introducing some of the birds that undertake this incredible journey passing through or ending exhausting journeys on their very beaches.
|Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla (Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla behind): Galveston Texas, USA.|
So what does the title Conectando os Pontas - Connecting the Dots mean then?
In Roberta's own words;"Connecting people, connecting knowledge and thus respect and pride to meet and mingle in important environments for global conservation of migratory shorebirds species."
|Red Knot Calidris canutus (Short-billed Dowthcher Limnodromus griseus behind): Galveston Texas, USA.|
Wader Quest has already made a donation to the crowd funding scheme to the value of R$1,250.00 (£199.85) and in addition we have undertaken to purchase and provide the leg flags required for the species involved in the project, namely those mentioned above; Grey (Black-bellied) Plover, Semipalmated Plover Hudsonian Whimbrel, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Red Knot.
We will keep you updated as and when things happen and in time we hope to start bringing you results from these studies.