Training on Wetland Monitoring organized in the Park of Kune-Vain Lezhe 13-15 May 2005

4 June 2005

par Violeta Zuna, Eno Dodbiba

MWC project, in view of synergies with all other actors and interested donors in the biodiversity conservation issues, particularly in wetland ecosystems management has been lastly established very good links to the other GEF/WB project on integrated water management which focuses on Kune-Vaini wetland site management.

MWC project, in view of synergies with all other actors and interested donors in the biodiversity conservation issues, particularly in wetland ecosystems management has been lastly established very good links to the other GEF/WB project on integrated water management which focuses on Kune-Vaini wetland site management.

After some meeting and exchange of view points, it was a common understating to keep a continuous exchange of site specific information, problems faced and forms of alternative solutions provided. In this respect MWC will provide experience of management planning process while WB project "Integrated water Management" invited interested wetland experts from Vlora region to attend training on wetland monitoring organized in KUNE- VAINI.

The modules were prepared by the WB project and conducted by Mr. Adrian Vaso, Mr. Taulant Bino, and WB consultant Mr. Ulrih Zeidler.

The targeted groups comprised people from representatives of the Forest Service Directorate in Lezhe and employers of Kune-Vain Park, Eng. Eduart Breshanaj as chief of the Natural Managed Sanctuary of Pish Poro with Forest Service Directorate of Vlora, MedWetCoast expert Eng. Llazar Gjonca, Eng. Hektor Harizaj- expert of Regional Environment Agency in Vlora and Prof. Dr. As. Kajtaz Alikaj, teacher at "Ismail Qemali" University of Vlora.

The training objective was dedicated to birds monitoring.

During the first day (Friday 13 May 2005) the training commenced with a short presentation of each participant bringing information on their profession, workplace and the tasks they perform with relevance to wetland management.

Mr. Adrian Vaso gave an overall introduction of the GEF Project. Main elements highlighted included the description of GEF as and financial instrument, its role and projects in Albania, its relevance to biodiversity protection and particularly to wetland ecosystems. Another part of the introduction was explanation on SGP (small grants program) and the possibilities offered by this program for grants aimed to the intervention in the environment for the situation improvement:

Action program and focused objectives of GEF and GEF/SGP giving detailed information on SGP (Small Grants Program) and the possibilities offered by this program for grants aimed to the intervention in the environment for the situation improvement. Respective action program

Overall information on birds was provided by the ornithologist- Mr. Taulant Bino. The main issues with regard to monitoring included some information on birds in the world and Europe, illustrations, numbers / graphics of species for the last 5-6 years and the falling tendency of these species in number. Then participants were informed on the situation of birds in Albania. This included an analyses of the situation between 1998 up to 2001, the species with status "threatened", "endangered", "in risk", as well as the actual trend. As supporting topic of discussion were analyzed the key factors responsible for the descending number of birds species and worsening of their status, that mainly consist in habitats damage, habitats degradation, physical elimination (species) and birds chasing. The bird’s definition and different classifications in these definitions were also referred accordingly: classification according habitats, classification according food demand, classification according the season of bird watching, classification according reproduction behavior. Provision with the necessary technical information and acquaintance with knowledge in bird’s definitions asks for establishing links with the nature, as well as conducting of the study/studies like Inventory and Monitoring.

Identification method for birds was another issued address very properly through the module prepared by Mr. Ulrih Zeidler. The key topics related to general characteristics of the anatomic particularities (feathers, beck, legs, etc.) and to the treatment of the surveys in field, description of the birds by the observer. Through very nice and exceptional bird’s projections, sketches of the topographic construction of the bird’s head, wings, tail, feathers, focus was given to the characteristics which an observer should rely in order to exactly identify the type of bird in the terrain. Following these themes, other topics and issued were addressed with regard to identification of some types of birds presented previously, subject to knowledge and know-how taken during the lesson. It was highlighted that in order to have a successful application of such know-how, fixing of some particularities of the bird (consulted with the Birds Guidebook), allows identifying the type of bird. This was interesting, and each of participants could make at least one identification during the practical session.

Some data on birds in Kune-Vain were brought and illustrated by Mr. Taulant Bino, focusing families, genus; the conceptual approaches such as Lagoonians toward terrestrials, reproductive towards wintering, migrating, colonials towards territorials, fish eaters toward the others. This made very clear address to great importance on knowing the species of birds according the above specifications. Knowing in theory the terms permanent birds, wintering birds, nesting and migrating will easy everyone’s job that works with the birds inventorying or monitoring in terrain in order to make their seasonal classification.

The other day of the training workshop (Saturday 14 may 2005) summarized the modules and activities of the first day, and was dedicated to a site visit with thematic orientation to identifying techniques, accentuating the lagoons birds. Marching through the park’s territory, covering a walking distance of 8 km, through observation means (spy-glasses, telescope), all participants performed observations of many types of birds of Kune lagoon. Their identification was made by the definition of birds particular characteristics and the type definition was then derived from the Birds guide Book.

Some lessons followed which were concerned with birds identifying techniques and census of the lagoons birds. This emphasized the fact that in order to perform an exact identification of one type of bird it is important to ascertain its classification according the habitats in which he lives, being species of maritime waters, shallow waters, lakes and reserves, marshland, bogs, alluvional forests, bushes, low forests, high forests, etc. Views of different types of birds in their habitats were brought as illustration in the lecture.

Another important lecture of this day was related to migrating and wintering birds. It consisted in the main elements such as migratory and wintering community, measurement methods, factors influencing their number (hunting, catching, disturbance etc.) and how to avoid negative factors. An interesting topic was the analyses of the factors influencing in the birds number. The discussion on this topic, in trying to explain its complexity, engaged all the auditory; everyone presented the factors influencing reduction of the bird’s number. Further on, all the factors were analyzed, finding the causes and giving opinions for their minimization. Lack of law enforcement and intensive, uncontrolled hunting, habitat damage, were the main factors (mentioned by 90% of the participants) have leaded to the decrease of bird’s number. Opinions were given for the way out of the situation.

The first theme addressed to participants during the third day (15th May 2005) was related to nesting bird’s situation in Kune-Vain during 2001- 2003. Comparison according the years and observing that the number of nesting birds in Kune-Vain is in decrease. It was particularly analyzed the black swallow nesting in Kune-Vain and was seen that in the beginning of the season were 240 couples, at the end of the season 100 couples and from them all no couple nested. This module focused the causes which lead to lack of swallows nesting, the decrease of the amount of water in the lagoon, which means less food for them, the bad situation, mentioning also the rendering toward rapacious (due to lagoons water level) and the human disturbance as well, (movements, hunting etc).

The second theme concerned with inventory methods of nesting birds. The trainee provided some explanation of the concept of inventorying and monitoring and the difference between them. It was followed with issues like monitoring period, techniques to be used and methods for the monitoring process. At the end the integral analyses of the factors threatening the birds nesting was made by the participants. The man to be pointed aout is: human disturbance, hunting, water level decrease, lack of islands for nesting, damage by rapacious etc.

The third theme of the training regarded monitoring of the terrestrial birds (by Ulrih Zeidler), with particular attention to the way how to achieve a monitoring program: it is important to know very well the habitat wherein the monitoring will be applied and to know the kind of birds living in those habitats. The habitats classification was explained in details, pointing out the areas where the monitoring is performed such as forests, reeds, shrubs, and presented the respective type of birds living in them. The trainer made clear point that before realizing a monitoring process; first of all it is necessary to know what do we expect from the monitoring? What are its objective?. Thus, the key element of the monitoring program would be changes in the bird’s populations, subject to managing actions in the area. Other items of this module regarded with the monitoring methods including birds monitoring (methodic and qualitative), line transect (methodic half quantitative) and total territory mapping (methodic quantitative). It was an interesting topic on haw can be realized on site an inventory through line transect, explaining the way of designing this method for a particular area, the birds watched or records of their sounds, for every part of the line transect in land and in water surfaces.

The training concluded with final remarks and evaluation of the knowledge delivered.

MWC Albania, Eno Dodbiba

Violeta Zuna, Eno Dodbiba