As part of our campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbird Census, we asked our partners to share their favourite images of wetlands and waterbirds. This month we share photos and stories from key sites along the East-Atlantic Flyway, taken as part of the work under the Wadden Sea Flyway Initative.
People puzzled for centuries at the miraculous appearance and disappearance of birds at certain times of the year. What happened to them? Where did they go? Slowly we pieced together the amazing stories of their annual migrations, realising that these tiny creatures connected places that were worlds apart. We also learnt that this means a shared responsibility across many borders and cultures for their protection and management. Loss or degradation at any wetland site in the chain may lead to catastrophic collapse for whole populations. This month we follow the journey of waterbirds migrating along the East Atlantic, with photos from important wetlands in 8 countries, showing their beauty, the threats they face and how we are working together to protect them. Visit the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative website to find out much more about this work!
The Wadden Sea is a hugely important wetland, stretching from the Dutch to Danish coasts. Millions of waterbirds rely on the site to refuel and rest on their long journeys between the Arctic and Africa. This photo from Koos Dansen gives a good impression of the rich diversity of species you can find here – Dunlin, Knot, Grey plover, Curlew sandpiper, Oystercatchers, Avocets, Bar-tailed godwit.. can you find them all? #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
Large numbers of Common ringed plover (left) and Dunlin (right) are easy to spot in the Wadden Sea, but some sites in Africa are also extremely important for both these species. Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania hosts hundreds of thousands of these birds during the northern winter months. Photo by Koos Dansen. #iwc50 #waterbirdscount
#IWC50 participants try to count and identify a flock of waterbirds as they fly over the Djoudj National Park in Senegal. This is the first stopover site for many birds crossing the Sahara on their annual migration, together with the Diawling National Park just over the border in Mauritania. #waterbirdscount
A wetland wonder in the heart of Dakar (Senegal), the Technopole area is a refuge for migratory and resident waterbirds. It also helps protect local houses from flooding and is one of the ‘green lungs’ of the city. Pollution, illegal dumping and encroaching urban development all mean our fight to save this key site is far from over. #IWC50 #waterbirdscount
#IWC50 #waterbirdscount at Mussulo bay in Angola. This coastal sandspit is an important site for many waders ending their migration along the West African coast. Though some will continue down all the way to South Africa, many will spend the northern winter months here before beginning their long flight back.