The 2018 annual Asian Waterbird Count (AWC) at the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area January 6 to 21 yieldedthree more rare species of migratory birds, including the Eurasian Oystercatcher Himantopusostralegus, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Edgardo Rostata said yesterday.
A lone Eurasian Oystercatcher (also known as Pied Oystercatcher) was photographed by Andrew Ross Reintar of Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. for the first time in Negros Island on January 15 during the annual AWC, he said in a press statement.
The bird was feeding along the estuary of the Ilogvtown wetlands – part of the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA) – a Ramsar site.
“This is the first photograph of the Oystercatcher. This validates the first record where three individuals were seen in relatively the same site by Lucia Salazar of DENR CENRO Kabankalan in January 2008 AWC” RosiePablico, Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area-Ramsar Site Manager of the DENR in Negros Occidental, said.
Another rare subspecies of Black Noddy Anous worcesteri worcesteri was also observed for the first time in Negros Island on January 13flying along the waterline of the wetlands in Brgy. Tibsoc – San Juan, San Enrique town , Negros Occidental,Rostata said
The black, relatively long, slender bird with a small patch of white on its forehead was observed flying above water close to the coasts of the Tibsoc wetlands.
InPulupandan town, Negros Occidental, three(male Eurasian Wigeon Marecapenelope was recorded January 19, Rostata said.
The bird was first reported inthe Ilog wetlands in 2013during the Annual Asian Waterbird Census but this was the first time it was photographed, he said.
“The presence of these rare migrants further highlights the importance of the Negros wetlands as feeding grounds of migratory birds” said Lisa Paguntalan of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc. said.
The Critically Endangered Spoonbill Sandpiper Calidrispygmea was also recorded for the first time in the Philippines in Brgy. Tibsoc – San Juan, San Enrique wetlands January 6.
This brings the total number of species of waterbirds in Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area to 79. Of these, one is Critically endangered (Spoonbill Sandpiper), three Endangered (Far Eastern Curlew Numeniusmadagascariensis, Great Knot Limosalimosa and Nordmann's or Spotted Greenshank Tringaguttifer) and two Vulnerable (Philippine Duck Anasluzonica and Chinese Egret Egrettaeulophotes), she said.
“The strong commitment and support of the Provincial Government and the local government units in Negros Occidental have helped protect our wetlands”, Provincial Environment Management Officer Wilfred Ramon Peñalosa said.
“This is what makes our Ramsar Site unique as it is the local people who are directly managing this with the technical assistance of our partners including DENR”, he added.
The AWC is an annual event where over 6,100 sites in 27 countries along the East Asian Australasian Flyway Network simultaneously count migratory birds, Rostata said.
The event is spearheaded by the DENR and participated in mostly by volunteers.
This year's Annual Waterfowl Census in the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA) was participated in by Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation; Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Areas Management Council (NOCWAMA) from the Municipality of Ilog, Kabankalan City, Himamaylan City, Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Pontevedra, San Enrique, Valladolid, Pulupandan,and Bago City; Negros Bird Conservation Society, Carlos Hilado Memorial State College Binalbagan Campus, he said.*
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