On 7th – 16th January 2009 a training and exchange visit between Haapsalu - Noarootsi Bays (Estonia) and Saloum-Niumi (Senegal/The Gambia) demonstration sites was implemented. The aim of this event was to share and exchange ideas and transfer capacity on migratory waterbird monitoring. The workshop was organized in cooperation between Wetlands International Africa, Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (Gambia), Direction des Parcs Nationaux (Senegal), WOW Project Coordination Unit, Estonian and Senegal/Gambia demonstration project teams. The 19 very enthusiastic participants from Saloum and Niumi National Park worked closely with the Estoinan team in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
“Open class-room lessons” about existing monitoring practices in the three countries, waterbird census methods, color-ringing, data collection and management etc. were held in the beautiful Niumi National Park, at the recently established WOW project camp site. Field visits to the wetlands recorded several bird species (Caspian Tern, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Osprey), that are typical for both sites.
The 10 days at the Saloum-Niumi wetland complex were a demonstration of the strong existing voluntary network for conservation of migratory waterbirds in this part of the African-Eurasian Flyway. During one of the conducted field trips local participants identified a color-ring on a Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) and counted water birds more precisely with the telescopes used for the training. However, it was noted by the team from Estonia that there is still a need for some additional equipment (birdwatching optics, bird guides etc) to support this remarkable enthusiasm at local level.
During the last section of the training programme, the multi-national team of monitoring specialists and volunteers jointly implemented the annual International Waterbird Census (IWC) at Niumi National Park.
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