The latest Aqaba Bird Survey for 2022-2023, conducted at Ayla, underscores Aqaba's significance as a crucial stopover for migratory birds on their extensive journeys between the northern and southern hemispheres. The survey, a collaboration between Ayla and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), recorded a total of 109 bird species during its tenure. This report stands as a testament to Ayla's unwavering commitment to striking a balance between development and environmental conservation, ensuring the preservation of bird habitats. The survey has illuminated the symbiotic relationship between golf courses and their role as essential bird habitats. This finding aligns with Ayla's eco-friendly approach to managing these green expanses. The survey's results revealed a diverse array of bird species attracted to Ayla's habitats during migration. Most of these species fall within the "Least-Concern" category on the global conservation scale. However, the survey also identified several threatened species requiring specific protection measures. These include the Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), the Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), and the European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur). Additionally, species nearing the Threatened status globally, such as the Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) and the Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator), were observed. Notably, sightings of the endangered Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) were also documented. The survey contributed to breeding and reproduction records, noting nesting observations of various species, including the Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and the Spur-winged Lapwing (Vanellus spinosus). The presence of an invasive species, the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), known for its environmental impact, was also reported. Over three seasons, many species were recorded in Ayla's ongoing monitoring partnership with the RSCN. The months of March and April in 2022 and 2023 were particularly fruitful for spring birdwatching. The survey's recommendations include the establishment of an extended monitoring program that spans beyond migration seasons. This program would cover various climatic conditions to gain deeper insights into bird diversity and behavior in Ayla's habitats. Collaborations with academic institutions and bird specialists are deemed essential for comprehensive research. The survey also advocates for international conservation efforts to promote Aqaba as a global birdwatching hub, integrating it with regional eco-tourism initiatives, such as the Aqaba Bird Observatory. Emphasizing climate resilience strategies in habitat management and engaging the local community and educational sector are crucial steps towards raising awareness about habitat preservation in the face of climate challenges. For over nine years, Ayla and the RSCN have maintained a productive partnership, working closely with the Aqaba Bird Observatory. Their joint efforts in conducting migratory bird surveys during the migration seasons connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa have been instrumental in evaluating Aqaba's habitat's influence on bird attraction. These endeavors have provided invaluable technical consultations to enhance the local environment, elevating Aqaba's stature as a prime destination for ecotourism and environmental conservation. The region has also become a focal point for birdwatching enthusiasts worldwide.
Source. Jordan News Agency