English illegal bird egg collector fined in Bulgaria


This video is called Birds in Bulgaria.

From Wildlife Extra:

English bird egg collector fined £2,000 by Bulgarian court

An English egg collector living in Bulgaria has been given a £2,000 fine and a six month suspended prison sentence by a Bulgarian court for illegally possessing 16 birds’ eggs and three taxidermy specimens.

Jan Frederick Ross, a known and previously convicted egg collector, is believed to have moved to Bulgaria in 2004 from Greater Manchester following a trio of convictions for egg collecting in the UK.

The raid on his home followed a lengthy investigation by the Burgas Police, assisted by The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and the RSPB.

The 16 birds’ eggs found included the egg of a Griffon Vulture, a rare breeding bird in Bulgaria (60 pairs).

Also found were detailed diaries and photographs that indicated Ross’ egg collecting in Bulgaria was much further-reaching than the 16 eggs found. The diaries revealed over a thousand potentially illegally collected bird’s eggs including a number of very rare breeding birds such as a clutch of eggs from the globally endangered Egyptian Vulture (24 pairs in Bulgaria) and three clutches of the Imperial Eagle (24 pairs in Bulgaria). No charges could be brought against Ross for taking of these eggs and the location of them remains unknown.

Dimitar Gradinarov, a Bird Crime Officer for BSPB, said: “We are very grateful for the fantastic response from the police in Burgas and the specialist help from the RSPB who have years of experience dealing with such crimes. We have been working incredibly hard to protect the imperial eagle, Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture and others birds in Bulgaria.

“It was shocking to see just how much damage one man could do to rare breeding birds in our country. We hope that this case will emphasise the importance of tackling wildlife crimes in our country and to remind the Bulgarian authorities [of] the need to have the necessary resources for this work.”

Saving Bulgarian birds from power line deaths


This video is about making power lines in Bulgaria safe for birds.

From BirdLife:

BSPB cooperates with power companies to secure bird-killing power lines in Bulgaria

By Elodie Cantaloube, Fri, 12/09/2014 – 09:59

It was around the middle of August when the nice summer vibe was broken for the bird lovers in Varna, Bulgaria. Around 29 storks were found dead in the village of Vaglen by picnickers who wanted nothing but to chill on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, they had to confront the horrifying sight of the birds which had perched in hazardous electricity poles, causing their death.

Electrocution by badly designed electricity poles is one of the most serious threats to birds in the world. It not only concerns white storks but also raptors, including endangered species like the Imperial Eagle. In the region of the Sakar Mountain, in south-eastern Bulgaria, one of the richest regions in terms of birds of prey and home to half of the country’s Imperial Eagle population, it caused the death of 67% of the birds between 2009 and 2013, according to a study involving satellite tracking of 25 juvenile Imperial Eagles.

Some birds like storks and raptors species tend to perch on the highest parts of the trees, buildings and electricity poles. Although nowadays safer poles are being produced, the ones composing the electricity web in Bulgaria were designed in a way that makes them dangerous to birds. They are notably fatal to migratory birds like white storks, which gather in hundreds and sometimes in thousands in Bulgaria to rest and feed before flying to or back from Africa.

To address the issue, BSPB (BirdLife in Bulgaria) has been engaging with power companies in the country. In collaboration with EVN Bulgaria and ENERGO-PRO, over 1,100 insulations  have been installed, avoiding many incidents not only for storks, but also for other endangered species like the Egyptian Vulture and the Imperial Eagle. Also, within the project Save the Raptor, for which BSPB received the very first Natura 2000 Conservation Award this year, our Partner has been cooperating with the company EVN Bulgaria on the insulation of about 700 dangerous power lines and the burying of overhead cables in nesting areas. BSPB provided the insulation caps while EVN mounted them.

See a video of pylon safeguarding [at the top of this blog post].

These installations already permitted to reduce by thousands the number of dead storks and raptors. The securing of the electricity network also benefit the corporate sector: every time a bird is electrocuted, the network material is damaged and the power supply along the line is discontinued, causing discomfort to the costumers. This is why the power companies have decided to go further. EVN, for example, has developed in cooperation with BSPB the project to secure a further 46 km of overhead power lines into underground cables and retrofit 2,740 poles, based on the mapping of the most dangerous poles produced by BSPB.

For more information, visit www.bspb.org.

Red-breasted geese migration, new research


This video says about itself:

Striving to save the Red Breasted Goose

2 November 2012

Euronews coverage of the first ever tagging of Red-breasted geese with GPS transmitters, a scientific experiment within the LIFE+ Safe Ground for Redbreasts project, carried out in January 2011 in NE Bulgaria.

From BirdLife:

Decebal and Darko’s journey across Europe: our Red-breasted Geese successfully reached Siberia!

By Elodie Cantaloube, Fri, 25/07/2014 – 13:38

Let me introduce you to Decebal and Darkos, two special Red-breasted Geese that were selected by SOR (BirdLife in Romania) to carry a satellite transmitter to provide conservationists with information on their migratory journey.

Red-breasted Goose, is a distinct red, black and white bird that breeds in the Taymyr Peninsula of Siberia and is one of the most beautiful geese in the world.  It’s also one of the rarest species of geese, and has a small, rapidly declining population. It’s threatened by illegal killing along its migration route and by changes to habitats and is listed as Endangered by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List.

SOR has been working intensively to protect this species.

The project “Save Ground for Redbreasts” aims to increase our knowledge of the route the geese take from the wintering areas in Bulgaria and Romania to the breeding grounds in Arctic, through satellite-tracking of a pair of geese: Decebal and Darko. The two adult male red-breasted geese were tagged with satellite transmitters, after being caught in mid-February 2014, near Durankulak Lake (Bulgaria).

Fortunately, Decebal reached Siberia on the 14 of June, 95 days after his departure. The goose arrived at his breeding grounds in the vicinity of Lake Kuchumka, 8922 kilometres away from his departure point.

The birds’ beautiful journey through Europe up to the northern part of Eurasia can be followed in this website, where SOR/BirdLife Romania uploads every 2-3 days his new positions.

Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia


Originally posted on North African Birds:

Nefla, A., Tlili, W., Ouni, R., & Nouira, S. (2014). Breeding Biology of Squacco Herons (Ardeola ralloides) in Northern Tunisia. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology126 (2): 393–401.  doi:10.1676/13-130.1

Abstract:

We studied the reproduction patterns of Squacco Herons, Ardeola ralloides, during 2009–2010. This study was carried out in two colonies located at Ichkeul National Park (37.184992 N, 9.633758 E) and Lebna Dam (36.744161 N, 10.916569 E), in northern Tunisia. We determined the reproductive performance of the species, and investigated the relationship between reproductive parameters and nest characteristics (height and diameter). We registered successful nesting, with mean clutch size of 4.51 ± 0.85 for both years combined. Hatching success was 3.67 ± 1.07 eggs hatched/nest and fledging success reached 3.06 ± 1.28 young/nest. All reproductive parameters varied between years. The diameter and the height of nest had no effect on the clutch size, the initial brood size, or the final…

View original 195 more words

Saving Bulgaria’s imperial eagles


This video says about itself:

Stoycho Stoychev, Bulgaria – Whitley Awards 2014

8 May 2014

Whitley Award donated by Fondation Segré – The Imperial eagle as a flagship for conserving the wild grasslands of south-eastern Bulgaria.

From BirdLife:

Whitley Fund for Nature rewards BirdLife Bulgarian Partner for its work on the Imperial Eagle

By Elodie Cantaloube, Wed, 14/05/2014 – 08:36

The 2014 Whitley Awards Ceremony was held on the 8th of May at The Royal Geographical Society in London. Among the 9 organisations rewarded, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB; BirdLife in Bulgaria) received a Whitley Award donated by Foundation Segré for its project “The Imperial Eagle as a flagship for conserving the wild grasslands of south-eastern Bulgaria”.  The Ceremony was hosted by the English television presenter Kate Humble and the Awards were presented to the winners by WFN Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne.

For the sake of Bulgarian eagles, Bulgarian bird lovers and everyone else, one should hope that Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne of the United Kingdom on this occasion did not say stupid things about gassing or butchering animals, as she said about badgers and horses.

By the end of the 20th century, Bulgaria was known as the “country of eagles”. Nowadays, only eight Imperial Eagle nests remain in the country and yet they account for 20% of the EU population. The efforts from BirdLife Bulgarian Partner BSPB, aimed to establish the Imperial Eagle as a flagship for wild grassland habitats in order to bring the species back from the brink of national extinction whilst protecting other endangered species including the Saker Falcon, the European Souslik (ground squirrel), the Marbled Polecat and the Tortoise.

The colony’s decline is mainly caused by habitat loss, electrocution from over-head pylons, nest poaching and illegal killing. The accession of Bulgaria to the EU and agriculture subsidies heralded a large scale ploughing of grassland pastures, which has been threatening the remaining Eagle population. More profitable and environmentally friendly farming subsidies are available, but remain little known and difficult to apply for.

Within the framework of the project, BSPB has been providing support to Bulgarian farmers to apply for and implement agri-environmental measures that conserve the Eagle’s habitat while boosting the farmers’ incomes. Also, the organization has developed environmentally friendly businesses based on eco-tourism. Indeed, it was recognized that eagles can generate local income through bird watching tourism and sustainable farming. Finally, BSPB trained local communities in participatory monitoring and nest guarding in order to develop sense of ownership and responsibility among the community and ensure that conservation efforts last in the long-term.

“Our nest-guarding programme has significantly increased breeding success and the survival of juvenile eagles” commented Stoycho Stoychev, Conservation Director of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB). Watch the video and learn more about the project.

The work done so far by BSPB has highly contributed to the increase of the Imperial Eagle population in Bulgaria, which has doubled over the last decade to reach 25 breeding pairs.

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK registered charity offering awards and grants to the world’s most dynamic nature conservationists and supporting projects founded on good science, community involvement and pragmatism.

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Beautiful bird recorded in Libya for the first time


This video from Bulgaria is called Ficedula semitorquata – Semi-collared Flycatcher.

Ever since in 2011 in Libya a movement with legitimate grievances was hijacked by domestic religious fanatic militarists, foreign Al-Qaeda militarists, foreign militarists like the Qatar dictatorship and “regime change” NATO miltarists, there is often bad news from Libya.

From racism to torture on many days to especially today, refugees fleeing Benghazi from the violence of a warlord general. That general is called Khalifa Hifter, with a second job as CIA agent), who started violence today in Tripoli as well (see also here).

Fortunately, sometimes there is better news.

From North African Birds blog:

First documented record of Semi-collared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata) for Libya

Posted on 17/05/2014

Hamza, A. & Yahia, J. 2014. First documented record of Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata for Libya. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 21 (1): 83-85. PDF

An adult male Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata was photographed on 31 March 2010 at Sebkhet Hasila, on the Libyan coast about 90 km east of Sirte. Two previous observations of males were reported at two different sites between Ajdabiya and Benghazi, on 29 March and 1 April 2006. The observation presented here, however, is the first documented record for the country of this Palearctic migrant.

LIBYAN President Nouri Abusahmein ordered Islamist-led militias to deploy in the capital Tripoli today after forces loyal to General Khalifa Hifter stormed parliament. Gen Hifter’s action threatens to detonate volatile divisions among the multiple militias that dominate Libya: here.

Heavily armed militiamen reportedly loyal to a retired general with deep ties to the US Central Intelligence Agency stormed Libya’s parliament building Sunday with armored vehicles and heavy weapons, seizing its speaker and armed forces chief Nouri Abusahmain together with some 20 other officials and setting the building on fire: here. And here.

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