Bird survey conducted in Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment area

An ornithologist from New Zealand, David Butler has carried out a detailed bird survey of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment area in Tongatapu.

“The bird survey of Fanga’uta Lagoon is the first detailed look at birds there and it is intended to establish a baseline. The work can then be repeated in the future to see if management of the lagoon leads to improved conditions for birdlife,” Mr Butler said of the survey that he is carrying out.

The survey was conducted over four days last week.

Butler is on contract with the Ministry of Environment, Energy, Climate Change, Disaster Management, Meteorology, Information and Communications (MEIDECC) with funding from United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) to carry out the survey as part of the Ridge To Reef project in Tonga.

Butler, who is based in Nelson, New Zealand, has worked in New Zealand and many different countries in the Pacific, mostly in Polynesia, doing practical fieldwork on bird conservation and management of invasive species and strategy development.

Some of the strategy development plans he has worked on include the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAP’s) and National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plans (NISSAP’s).

He had carried out several previous birds surveys in Tonga for the Ministry, including working in the Vava’u Group as part of a BIORAP coordinated by SPREP, and of Late, Fonualei and Niuafo’ou Islands.

“The last two of these were particularly focused on the endangered malau or Polynesian megapode, and led to the production of a revised Recovery Plan for the species. I have also carried out bird work in New Zealand, Samoa and Niue,” Butler added.