The Belau National Museum along with its partners from the Palau Conservation Society took another trip to the Northern Peleliu Lkes on September 25, 2020. They invited three of BNM’s Board of Trustee members: Chairperson Bernie Keldermans, Secretary/Treasurer Roberta Louch, and Trustee Fuana Rengulbai; Kiblas Soaladaob (National Coordinator for the GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP) and two members of the Palau SGP National Steering Committee: Carol Ngiraidis and Rebecca Ngirmechaet; and several BNM staff including the temporary staff that work under the Pandemic Re-Employment Program. With a bigger group of people this time, we are grateful to the Bureau of Marine Resources who kindly assisted in boat transportation to the site.
The purpose of this trip was to continue with the main goal of this project by building local and national support to protect the Northern Peleliu Lkes and other Palau Important Bird Area (IBA)/migratory bird habitats. Several women who came on this trip are from Peleliu and volunteered to assist us in doing more educational outreach in the local community of Peleliu. It was a great experience for everyone that witnessed first-hand the large populations and diversity of migrant bird species on the Lkes sandflats. We were able to document and observe the Bar-tailed Godwit, the Far Eastern Curlew (Delerrok), and the Great Knot, which are three (3) globally endangered birds. BNM’s own field ornithologist Milang Eberdong gave a short talk on the importance and significance of the Northern Peleliu Lkes not only to Palau but to Oceania. Questions and discussions ensued on where these migratory birds sleep and what specific organisms they feed on. All had an opportunity to look at these birds through binoculars and spotting scopes.
This two-year education campaign on the Northern Peleliu Lkes is funded by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme. The peak migratory season in Palau is in September to October each year. The next field trip is planned for World Migratory Bird Day on October 10, 2020. For the bird enthusiasts, Global Big Day will be held on October 17, 2020 so save the date for this year’s event. Global Big Day is a popular event when many birdwatchers in many countries around the world get out and count birds for that whole day (24 hours). This year however, the global community is making this event the first Global Bird Weekend to start on the 17th until the 18th and to have more than 25,000 people submit an eBird checklist. This Global Bird Weekend is to help support BirdLife International’s appeal to end illegal bird trade.