First Annual World Shorebirds Day – Rookery Bay
On September 6, dedicated volunteers and professionals across six continents counted shorebirds at over 1,000 locations worldwide as part of the first annual World Shorebirds Day. As participants in this first ever event, staff and volunteers with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve counted 1,043 total birds, including 600
Beverly Anderson, Rookery Bay Reserve Research Associate and Deborah Woods, Rookery Bay Reserve and Collier County Shorebird Steward volunteer, counted all birds seen along a 3 mile route at Tigertail/Sand Dollar beach and lagoon at the north end of Marco Island. The location was chosen because the sandy beach, dunes and mudflats in the Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area serve as important year round feeding and resting areas for breeding, migrating and wintering shorebirds
Anderson and Woods recorded thirty species of birds (1043 individuals) in 3 hours and of these, fifteen species (647 individuals) were shorebirds. Highlights of the count were 8 snowy plovers, 63 Wilson’s plovers, nine piping plovers and 36 red knots, all declining and at-risk species.
“For me, the most exciting part of any count survey is finding a banded shorebird” said Anderson. “Of the 36 red knots, 3 were wearing green flags inscribed with a unique alpha numeric code and one, AX3, was an old friend. It was captured and banded in January 2007 on Sanibel Island and I first saw it at Tigertail in August 2008. Since then, it’s been resighted 43 times in New Jersey, Georgia and Florida providing valuable data on the timing and pattern of red knot migration.”
This event was organized in England to raise awareness about the importance of regular bird monitoring as the core element of bird protection and habitat conservation. Almost half of the world’s shorebird populations are in decline, and projects like this provide scientific population figures to biologists, legislators and decision makers to help them evaluate the protection status of many shorebird species and their habitats. Shorebirds are one of the fastest responders to negative environmental changes.
World Shorebirds Day count lists are being entered into eBird, an online database of real-time bird observations and will then be accessible to the shorebird biologists associated with this project, as well as the broader science and conservation communities.
ROOKERY BAY RESERVE SEEKS MOTIVATED VOLUNTEERS
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve protects 110,000 acres of coastal lands and waters south of Naples, with a mission of promoting informed stewardship through research and education. Volunteers, who contribute nearly 20,000 hours of help each year, play an important role in the Reserve’s success.
Volunteers at Rookery Bay Reserve have the opportunity to assist in many areas including research, education, resource management, facilities and administration.
“We provide training to all volunteers,” says Donna Young, visitor services and volunteer coordinator at Rookery Bay Reserve. “We are especially looking for people who wish to share their passion for the environment by providing daily programs on topics such as manatees, sharks and shells. Other jobs include feeding the aquarium fish and showing off the marine life in the Touch Tank, as well as leading guided walks on the Snail Trail.”
Volunteers can assist with special events, workshops, art gallery receptions, or maintaining the merchandise in the Palmetto Patch Nature Store. The Environmental Learning
Center also has a Florida-friendly garden in need of volunteers to help maintain it.
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center serves as an interpretive gateway into the 110,000-acre reserve. Interactive exhibits, aquariums, nature store, art gallery,
observation bridge, walking trails and daily programs shine a spotlight on the unique native plants and animals, while guided walks and kayak and boat tours provide opportunities to explore the estuary.
The Reserve is managed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Office in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. www.rookerybay.org.
Registration opens for the 11th Annual
Southwest Florida Nature Festival
Explore the local environment through
guided field trips to 20 wildlife hot spots
around Southwest Florida Jan. 16-18, 2015.
November 4 (noon – 1:00 p.m.)
Lunch & Learn Lecture
Florida History Through the Eyes of Florida Authors
November 6 – January 22
“Painting Annual” exhibit in the Gallery
Friends of Rookery Bay and the United Arts Council of Collier County
present the “9th Annual Juried Painting Exhibition.”
November 7 – 8
Guardian Angler Fishing Tournament
The Friends of Rookery Bay and Coastal Conservation Association,
Florida team up for this inaugural fundraiser.
America Recycles Day
Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center offers “buy one,
get one free admission.”
November 22 (8 to 10 a.m.)
5th Annual Rookery Bay Reserve Adventure Race
Hosted by Up A Creek Kayak, this 3k paddle/4k trail run benefits the
Friends of Rookery Bay.
December 2 (noon to 1 p.m.)
Lunch & Learn Lecture
Nature’s Dozen: Key Moments in Florida’s Environmental History
December 18 (9 a.m. to noon) and Dec. 19 (7 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Nature Photography Workshop
This two-day workshop is designed for relative newcomers to digital
December 22, 23, 26, 27, (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Holiday Crafts for Kids
Make wildlife crafts, geared to children ages 6 to 12.
December 29, 30, 31, Jan. 2, 3 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Bring the whole family and enjoy a selection of nature films in the
Events take place at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center, 300 Tower Road, Naples (one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard.) Admission is $5, $3 kids 6-12, free for members. Pre-register at www.rookerybay.org. 239.530.5972.
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