A workshop on bird monitoring and documentation was organised in Leh on 09 August 2016 by Bird Count India, Nature Conservation Foundation and Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh. The Department of Wildlife Protection J&K, Snow Leopard Conservancy, WWF – J&K and Angnam Production and Advt supported the workshop. The aim of the workshop was to communicate the importance of birds and their habitats in Ladakh and understanding the need for regular monitoring and documentation of the birdlife in the region.
Almost 60 people, including 25 students of the Elizer Joldan Memorial College, attended the workshop. It began with Tsewang Namgail of SLC, Lobzang Vasuddha of WCBCL and the Wildlife Warden, Tsering Angchok, speaking about birding in Ladakh and stressing the need for increased awareness and conservation measures to protect the biodiversity of this incredible landscape. Following them, Stanzin Namgail of NCF and Prof Tashi of EJM College spoke to the participants about the birds of Ladakh. The Pocket Guide to Birds of Spiti and Ladakh was released at the event.
The workshop, delivered in English and Hindi, focussed on the need of documenting birds in the region. Using several examples showcasing the potential of data generated from eBird, Ramit Singal communicated the importance of regular monitoring to the participants. An interactive session was held to discuss what kind of information and knowledge of the birds could be generated using eBird and the participants asked several relevant questions. The workshop closed with a session on how to use eBird on the phone and the web.
A post-workshop birding session was then held at Spituk with over 30 attendees taking part in the birdwalk. Binoculars were shared, curiosity was expressed and many gasps were heard as students and birders spotted some stunning birds such as the Wagtails and Rosefinches in breeding plumages, Redstarts, Chiffchaffs and many others. The walk in the cool weather was made even more pleasant as the clouds held back against the sun to provide a magnificent rainbow as the backdrop!
Ladakh sees a number of visiting birders in the summer months, and records are regular from a number of popular areas. However, much of the region remains under-represented on eBird and there are no local birders who contribute to the database and thus, the region’s birdlife remains relatively unknown. It is hoped that this workshop is a step forward towards more regular and increased reporting from the region.
If your organization or an organization in your area is interested in conducting such workshops, please write to us about it!