IUCN expert Francesca Pella, supported by the ornithologist Mikel Salvador Corres from Spain led water bird monitoring exercises in the Buna river Protected Landscape with the team of wildlife trainees last January. The group learned about the bird migration concept, a key topic that explains the importance of wintering sites and justifies the conservation of the Buna river wetlands. The next water bird monitoring session was held end of March, with the support of Borut Stumberger and Peter Sackl from Euronatur.
The trainees, Tonin Macaj, Eduard Gajtani and Zeqir Ujka spent time observing the birds, working with field guides and have learned several Latin bird names, which proved to be very useful when interacting with international experts. The introduction of correct classification of bird species was an important aspect of the training. The training started with a seminar on “Bird migration and monitoring techniques”. The workshop highlighted the importance of winter birds count and of the winter quarters protection such as the Buna River Protected Landscape. Species already monitored in the previous years in this area were introduced, such as waders, colonial birds and raptors. Between 12 and 19 January, the team of experts and local collaborators visited the winter quarters within the protected area and recorded the observations, using the international field protocols for wintering birds.
While counting the individuals of Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), a considerable presence of Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) was noted in the Buna river. The data is still being processed, but preliminary results indicate that during the seven days of the training at least 3,782 individuals of 77 different species, excluding the individuals of Cormorant roosts, were counted. An extensive monitoring carried out in Solana salina in Montenegro showed the higher individual abundance and the species diversity – therefore indicating less disturbance and poaching than in the nearby Buna river Protected Landscape. Overall, the group observed large amounts of litter and a considerable number of poachers in the protected area, confirming serious concerns about heavy poaching, already expressed by Schneider-Jacoby et al (2006) and Schneider-Jacoby and Spangenberg (2010).
The next water bird monitoring session was held end of March, with the support of two zoologists, Mr. Stumberger and Mr. Sackl. The first day seminar was dedicated to monitoring in general (definition, key points, and indicators) supported by two examples (Lake Constance and Slovenia). The field monitoring was done in different areas of the protected landscape, although the access to some areas was limited due to the floods. Euronature’s ornithologists would be happy to involve members of the wildlife team in their summer activities, which will take place in Montenegro and at the Shkoder Lake.
Prepared by Francesca Pella, IUCN Expert
Schneider-Jacoby M., Schwarz U., Sackl P., Dhora D., Saveljic D. and Stumberger B. (2006): Rapid assessment of the Ecological Value of the Bojana-Buna Delta (Albania/Montenegro). Euronatur, Radolfzell.
Schneider-Jacoby, M. & Spangenberg, A. (2010): Bird Hunting Along the Adriatic Flyway – an Assessment of Bird Hunting in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and Serbia. – In: Denac, D., Schneider-Jacoby, M. & Stumberger, B. (eds.). Adriatic flyway – closing the gap in bird conservation. Euronatur, Radolfzell, pp. 32–51.