FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 August 2019
EPIC Hosts Grenada Birding Club First Seabird Trip to the Grenadines
On the 4th of August 2019, executive members of the Grenada Birding Club were invited to the first-ever seabird-specific excursion in the Grenadines, through the Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) seabird training program. Accompanied by Juliana Coffey (EPIC Project Coordinator / Seabird Biologist) and Vaughn Thomas (Sailing Captain / Lobster Fisherman) on board the sailboat Miss Delia (Carriacou), the group left the jetty at Sauteurs, St. Patrick’s, Grenada at 7:30 am and ventured north towards Diamond Rock. It was an exciting time for the Grenada Birding Club because it was their first chance to conduct offshore birding, as their activities have thus far been restricted to mainland Grenada.
Ms. Alecia Clarke stated to EPIC intern Mr. Quincy Augustine “Offshore birding with EPIC was an amazing and exciting adventure! The display of seabirds on the rocks were so awesome. Watching them dive for a meal and fly over our heads was so breath-taking, I can’t wait to do that again”. When they saw the sails being put up, Mr. Michael Richards exclaimed “We came here for one experience, and we got two instead!”.
The team was able to visit Lee Rocks, Upper Rock and Diamond Rock, an area typically only accessible by fisherfolk and passing yachts, to view thousands of seabirds nesting and roosting on the islands. Mr. Vaughn Francis, founder of the Grenada Birding Club was shocked to see the number of seabirds, stating “You told me there were a lot of birds out here, but I had no idea it was this many.” When Captain Thomas, who has been involved with the seabird project since February, was asked how he enjoyed his first seabird group outing he said “It was the best, couldn’t have been better. I hope it is the best trip the Grenada Birding Club has done so far”.
Members were also engaged with a before and after seabird quiz to test their seabird knowledge and participated in discussions of the project “Conservation of Key Offshore Island Reserves”, funded by USAID and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This project aims to build awareness of seabirds in the Grenadines, through outreach, education and training throughout the entire Grenadine archipelago. Tens of thousands of seabirds call the Grenadines home, yet there is little known about their trends in the region, and monitoring and enforcement is complicated due to resources and accessibility to these islands. While EPIC encourages visitors to view the seabirds, the organization does not promote accessing these colonies by land as it can disrupt nesting.
EPIC will also be hosting a series of community presentations with fisherfolk, schools, NGOs and government officials from Grenada all the way up to Saint Vincent, with activities planned for each Grenadine island.
EPIC looks forward to working with the Grenada Birding club again, and invites other partners to become involved. If you would like more information on this project please contact Juliana Coffey, Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or WhatsApp 1-709-770-6877.