Training session on banding and monitoring methods for shorebirds populations studies in French Guiana - 1 Nov 1999 The French National Agency presented a project for a common study program on shorebirds during the conference of the Caribbean Ornithological Society, that took place in Guadeloupe (July 1998 :25-29th) and it received a quite favourable welcome from the participants. The general objective of this program is to acquire knowledge necessary for the elaboration of a ‘care and watching’ plan on shorebirds and their habitat. The project will aim at completing works on the 'Western Hemisphere Shorebirds Reserve Network'. It will concern every geographical unit of the ‘caribbean arc’ (countries or departments) or of the South-American coastal area. It will deal more specifically with:
(i) the study of the phenology of shorebirds’ migrations.
(ii) the identification of important sites for birds during their migrations, and the role those places play.
(iii) the monitoring of habitats and populations.
Any project of this sort rests on the existence of qualified personnel in sufficient numbers. To achieve this objective a workshop that will train one person for each country involved is planned in French Guiana during November 1999 (5-15 th). This person will in turn train people at home and take an active part in running the local projects.
The framing of the course will be assured by experimented scientists, with the support of a local association of ornithology (GEPOG). Sounded people for framing:
- Guy Jarry, French National Museum of Natural History,
- Cheri Grato-Trevor & Peter Hicklin, Canadian Wildlife Service,
- Eric Hansen, André Lartiges, Pierre Migot, Pierre Yesou, ONC (French National Agency),
- Alain Le Dreff, GEPOG (local ornithologist NGO)
"Friendship Award" for Inalafquen Foundation in Argentina - 30 Oct 1999 October 29 is the national Prefectura Naval Argentina (PNA) day. Then, Inalafquen Foundation from San Antonio Oeste have received the national annual "Friendship Award" from PNA because their scientific and cultural work in relationship with that Institution and community. Shorebird fieldwork, educational workshops about wetlands and conservation, pollution prevention are only some of shared activities.This award could not be possible without helping from international institutions as NOAA and USFWS who provided internet conection, training and datalogger to monitoring seawater quality in San Antonio Bay.
International Shorebird Expeditions 1999 - 18 Aug 1999 Since 1995 international teams under general direction of Allan Baker from Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, have carried out a concerted programme of research on Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) populations along the Atlantic coast of the Americas. This year, we visited Lagoa do Peixe National Park in southern Brazil from April 21 to May 5. There we have been work with Ines do Nascimento, Scherizino Scherer and Paulo Antas of CEMAVE, who have been banding shorebirds for many years in the National Park. Our visit was timed to coincide with later stages of the northwards migration, but even so we found many fewer Red Knots than expected from earlier work. The birds were using ‘snail meadows’ surrounding lagoons or Atlantic seashore habitats. We were able to catch and band 91 Red Knots, of which 19 of were fitted with radio-transmitters.

Simultaneously, at Delaware Bay, USA, teams started to catch, band and radio-track arriving Red Knots. By early June, when most of the birds had departed for the breeding grounds in the Canadian arctic, about 7,200 birds have been banded, 2600 of which were Red Knots marked with year and locality-specific combinations of colour bands. Analysis of weight data revealed that rates of fattening in Delaware Bay are high for Red Knots, and points to the importance of horseshoe crab eggs in providing the vital reserves of fat necessary for successful breeding in the Arctic. This year the migration was delayed by persistent head winds, and many birds arrived late or did not make it to Delaware Bay. Only two of 19 Red Knots radio-tagged in Brazil were detected at Delaware Bay about one month after their capture in Lagoa do Peixe.

An additional 65 radio-transmitters were fitted to Red Knots in New Jersey by the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife staff lead by Larry Niles and Kathy Clark. Larry then obtained funding for an aerial search in the arctic in late-June, and ably assisted by Mark Peck from the Royal Ontario Museum they lead the assault on the final frontier. The team struck ‘gold’ in flights around Southampton Island at the head of Hudson Bay, and detected eight transmitter birds one of which was trapped on the nest.-
Argentinian Independence Day - 19 Jul 1999
July 9th is argentinian independence day followed by the 94th Aniversary of San Antonio Oeste the next day. For those events, the school ILMA CORA CRESPO for little children made a street show in front of school building. They organized a small group of kids representing the story of the town: aboriginies; colonizing people; economical activities: train, fisheries, harbour, soda ash factory, tourism and......PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS!

For the first time teachers and parents put children in Red Knot costumes showing the importance of these Protected Natural Areas to the survival of this species.
Students in Argentina learn about shorebirds - 27 Apr 1999 On April 20, students from Tomas Espora School in San Antonio Oeste, Rio Negro, Argentina went on the first of a series of planned field trips to local habitats used by shorebirds. Together with members of Fundación Inalafquen (FI), they went to a beach located 100 meters away from the school. They learned to use binoculars and scopes, and saw a small flock of Greater Yellowlegs, Hudsonian Godwits and American Oystercatchers.
Students have started a letter-writting exchange with students in schools in Massachusetts, United States, as part of the "Save the Shorebirds" program run by the Manomet Centre for Conservation Sciences. This program is being coordinated in South America by Adriana Cafferata, from the Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA). This activity is the result of a workshop "The Coastal Wetlands of Bahia San Antonio", organized by FI and FVSA. The workshop included the field trip where participants played educational games and observed migratory and resident birds.
A number of teachers decided to start the letter exchange program to allow their students to learn about the history, geography, and social and political organization of the different areas visited by the birds, as well as learning about the problems affecting the habitats used by these birds during their migration. Both students and teachers were highly enthusiastic, and we expect to have more news about their activities soon.
News from San Antonio Oeste, Argentina - 14 Apr 1999 A flock of about 3000 fat Red Knots were seen roosting in San Antonio Este Conchillas's beach. By this time of the year, Red Knots are leaving SAO migrating to the north. Several banded birds and few individually colour banded from Tierra del Fuego, San Antonio Oeste and Delaware Bay were seen this morning by Patricia Gonzalez, Allan Baker and Deborah Smith.
One of those Red Knots was an individually colour marked bird banded in Slaughter Beach DEL on 20 May 1998; then it was in nuptial plumage and its weight was 137 g.
Oil spill: UN-designated conservation reserve damaged - 22 Jan 1999 An oil spill on 1/15 near Buenos Aires caused "severe damage" to a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve, officials said yesterday.
About 65,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a Royal Dutch Shell tanker after it collided with a German container ship in the Rio de la Plata (Greenwire, 1/22). Eduardo Althabe, agriculture minister for Buenos Aires province, said the spill had caused "irreversible" damage to aquatic wildlife. Other experts cited damage to riparian reeds, grasslands and woodlands (Agence France-Presse, 1/27).
Nestor Juzwa, mayor of the coastal town of Berisso, called the beach a "disaster area" where "the sand is sticky and black and we are finding hundreds of dead fish" (Washington Times, 1/26). Local authorities are "struggling" to contain the disaster by installing barriers and sucking up the oil with pumps (Agence France-Presse).
Meanwhile, Greenpeace has blasted Shell for "negligence" in failing to prevent the spread of the oil (Agence France-Presse, 1/22).

© 1999 Western Atlantic Shorebird Association