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Nature Conservancy of Canada hosting bird count in Pugwash Estuary

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is holding its first bird count in the Pugwash Estuary on Saturday, Sept. 30 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be asked to take up positions around the estuary, near Pugwash, and count waterfowl such as Canada geese and black ducks. To sign up, go to website https://events.natureconservancy.ca/al-event/pugwash-waterfowl-survey or call 1-866-319-5985.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is holding its first bird count in the Pugwash Estuary on Saturday, Sept. 30 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers will be asked to take up positions around the estuary, near Pugwash, and count waterfowl such as Canada geese and black ducks. To sign up, go to website https://events.natureconservancy.ca/al-event/pugwash-waterfowl-survey or call 1-866-319-5985.

PUGWASH – The Pugwash Estuary has long been regarded as a spectacular and valuable conservation area.  

The Nature Conservancy of Canada wants to know how valuable it is to waterfowl such as Canada geese and multiple species of ducks.
To do this, it is hosting a bird count on Saturday, Sept. 30 in which volunteers will be asked to take up positions along the estuary and count waterfowl such as Canada Geese and black ducks.
“The estuary has long been known as a busy spot for migrating waterfowl, but we really don’t have consistent numbers to show just how many waterfowl are coming to Pugwash,” NCC Nova Scotia stewardship co-ordinator Doug Van Hemessen said. “We thought it would helpful to do a count this year and then follow it up year by year to get a better idea of what’s in there.”
This information will be sent to Bird Studies Canada to help with tracking these bird populations. With many species of migratory birds in decline, the organization hopes the information will be helpful for habitat conservation efforts.
Van Hemessen said volunteers will be given tally sheets and asked to look out into the estuary with both binoculars and the naked eye.
Besides geese and black ducks, Van Hemessen said the conservancy is also curious as to the status of other ducks in the estuary and will be asking volunteers to be on the lookout for sea ducks and green-winged teal ducks.
“One of the rationales we have for working in this area is to protect the habitat, but we don’t have any hard data on what that all means,” Van Hemessen said. “This will give us a better idea of what we’re protecting.”
By collecting data over several years it will help officials from the Nature Conservancy of Canada identify trends among the waterfowl population in the estuary.
The Canadian Wildlife Service has done aerial surveys in the past, but this will be the first on-the-ground count conducted by volunteers.
The estuary is home to the endangered piping plover and Barrow’s goldeneye and the area is a prime staging and migration route for numerous waterfowl. It’s also home to a blend of forests, salt marshes, beaches and islands. But, it’s also an area under threat to coastal development.
The conservancy has worked since 1993 to build a large land inventory protecting important upland and wetland habitats along the estuary. By creating a buffer between coast development and the forests, marshes and beaches inhabited by many species of waterfowl, the NCC is working to conserve the unique and balanced ecosystem of the estuary.
The event is being co-hosted by the Friends of the Pugwash Estuary.
To volunteer, go to the conservancy’s website https://events.natureconservancy.ca/al-event/pugwash-waterfowl-survey or call 1-866-319-5985..
Anyone with an interest in coastal birds is welcome, including beginner birders and families. Prior to the count, at Estuary House, NCC officials will provide an overview of common bird species, instructions and survey locations.
Each group will be accompanied by at least one experienced birder to assist with identification and documenting observations. Birding skills are valuable but not a essential for participation.
A field lunch and snacks will be provided.
Please dress for the weather, bring sunscreen and bug repellant.
Bring your own binoculars and/or spotting scopes.
darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca
Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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