Turtle doves’ nests in Morocco, new research


This video from Britain is called WILDLIFE FILES TURTLE DOVES.

From Avian Biology Research, Volume 7, Number 2, May 2014, pp. 65-73(9):

Plasticity in nest placement of the Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur): experimental evidence from Moroccan agro-ecosystems

Author: Hanane, Saâd

Abstract:

A total of 364 Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) nests were found in the Tadla irrigated area during the 2006–2009 breeding seasons. Of these, 135 were located in orange orchards, 178 in olive orchards and 51 in olive hedgerows. Gaussian generalised linear modelling was used to model the nest height and the nest–trunk distance according to the characteristics of olive and orange trees in the orchards and hedgerows. Tree height and type of plantings had the strongest effects on both nest height (R 2 = 0.67) and nest–trunk distance (R 2 = 0.48).

Overall, the same pattern of Turtle Dove nest height was recorded in the three types of plantings, whereas different patterns were noted for the nest–trunk distance. The results provide evidence of non-random patterns of nest placement in olive and orange agro-ecosystems. This game species exhibits adaptive behavioural plasticity in nest placement and appears to be well-adapted to the olive and orange grove conditions in this region. This high adaptability is beneficial to maintaining the species in these artificial habitats. Additional quantitative studies are needed to improve our understanding on the mechanisms driving the choice of nest placement by Turtle Doves in this agricultural man-made environment.

Moroccan bird news


This video is about Rüppell’s Vultures (Gyps rueppellii).

From Moroccan Birds blog:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

3 Rüppell’s Vultures at Tétouan (24-05-2014)

Live from the field at Tetouan, northern Morocco

Now: we are surrounded by 3 Rüppell’s Vultures and 32 Griffon Vultures roosting near Tetouan (just 5 Km north of the town). A local Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) mobbing the vultures.

Details later. Rachid & Mohamed

The importance of Fouwarate marshland (Northwest of Morocco) for wintering and breeding of Ardeidae.

Abstract:

Due to its location within the East-Atlantic flyway, the Site of Biological and Ecological Interest commonly known as SIBE of Marshland of Fouwarate is considered as a key stopover area for migratory waterbirds. An ornithological monitoring carried out during a complete hydrological cycle (2009-2010) showed that the site encompasses eight Ardeidae species of which five are breeding. Four species have an unfavorable status in the territory of European Union and five species have patrimonial value in Morocco. In addition, the wintering numbers of two species exceed the threshold of 1% of the regional population (Ramsar criteria) while six species exceed the threshold of 1% of the national population. This attributes to this site a great national and international importance for the conservation for the conservation of threatened waterbirds, not to mention the role it can play in promoting environmental education and ecotourism in the region. However, the wetland is under high pressures due to different human activities (embankment, agriculture and industry), which requires urgent actions to protect and conserve its ecological values: here.

Study of the migratory waders phenology in the lagoon and salines of Sidi Moussa (Morocco).

Abstract:

Monthly counts of waders were conducted from March 2010 to February 2012 in Sidi Moussa lagoon and adjacent salines. In total 24 species were identified, including three regular breeding species in the site (Glareola pratincola, Charadrius alexandrinus and Himantopus himantopus). The most abundant species are Calidris alpina, Charadrius hiaticula, Charadrius alexandrinus, Pluvialis squatarola, Himantopus himantopus and Tringa totanus. The analysis of migration patterns of the species did not show significant variations between years in contrast to the trends in total numbers of waders that showed marked variations between the different seasons of the annual cycle of the species. The highest numbers are recorded during the autumn passage. Numbers will subsequently decrease and stabilize during the wintering season. Prenuptial movements are not well detected. A slight increase in numbers was noticed in February marking the beginning of the return passage. Some species can leave on the site small flocks of summering individuals. This is the case of Dunlin which shows a strong correlation with the total numbers and the Redshank with an early summering (May). Both breeding species, Black-winged Stilt and the Kentish Plover evolve differently in the site. When no seasonal variation was noted for the first species, migration passages are well marked for the second and numbers stabilize during the wintering and summering. The Grey Plover numbers noted during the summer show significant differences with those recorded during other seasons of the annual cycle, marked by certain stability. For Ringed Plover, numbers recorded in summer showed significant differences only with those of the autumn passage: here.

Spanish police fire at drowning migrants


This video says about itself:

8 Feb 2014

Video, recorded by a witness, contradicts official reports that the Spanish Civil Guard played no part in the drowning deaths of illegal immigrants attempting to cross into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

Witnesses claim those in the water were intimidated and fired upon for 1/2 an hour with rubber bullets; at least 13 people reportedly drowned. The tragedy occurred as they attempted to reach a seawall that separates the territory from Morocco.

Of the thirteen reported missing, nine bodies have been recovered by the Moroccan authorities — eight men and one woman. Reports suggest that four died in a crush, and another four drowned, “just a few meters from the shore.”

Civil Guard sources said reports of rubber bullets being fired were “false,” although Moroccan and Spanish security forces used riot gear to repel the entry attempt.

So, that was five days ago.

Today, the claim by the Spanish Guardia Civil that they did not fire bullets at the swimming people has been officially admitted to be a lie.

From the Times of Malta:

Thursday, February 13, 2014, 16:52

Spanish police fire rubber bullets at migrants trying to swim to enclave

Spain said today that border police had fired rubber bullets in an attempt to turn back around 200 migrants who tried to cross the frontier between Morocco and Spain’s north African enclave Ceuta on Thursday last week.

At least 11 migrants from the group drowned in the Mediterranean trying to swim around a man-made breakwater that separates Moroccan and Spanish waters, a Spanish official said today.

Every year thousands of Africans try to reach Europe via Spain’s two north African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, either by swimming along the coast or climbing the triple walls lined with razor wire that mark the border with Morocco.

Migrants who live rough in the mountains on the Moroccan side, waiting for an opportunity to rush the frontier, told Spanish media the police fired rubber bullets at them and sprayed them with tear gas as they tried to swim to land.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez told a parliamentary commission on Thursday that rubber bullets had been fired at a distance of at least 25 metres from the migrants while they were in the water. He did not mention use of tear gas.

Hundreds protested in central Madrid on Wednesday against the treatment of illegal migrants in Spain, bearing placards reading slogans such as: “Ceuta: the shame of Europe” and “South looted, North closed”.

The pressure on Ceuta and Melilla has increased as more migrants try to enter via a land frontier rather than by crossing the sea in rickety vessels, because border control at sea has increased.

Interior Minister Fernandez said the breakwater separating Spanish and Moroccan waters would be lengthened during to deter migrants trying to swim to Spanish territory.

Spanish authorities lie about African migrant drownings: here.

SPAIN said today that it will receive €10 million (£8.14m) from the European Union to prevent immigration in the Spanish north African territories of Ceuta and Melilla: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Montagu’s harrier migration, new research


This video is called Montagu’s Harrier – Britain’s Rarest Raptor.

Results of ten years of research into Montagu’s harrier migration were published recently.

Providing harriers with satellite transmitters proved there are three main ways for the birds to cross the Mediterranean sea on their autumn migration from Europe to Africa: through Spain, through Italy and through Greece (a newly discovered flyway, which only east European birds use).

Montagu’s harriers from the Netherlands use only the two western flyways.

Montagu's harriers flyways to Africa

In Africa, they winter in areas where they can feed on locusts.

When, in spring, the harriers fly back north, Morocco is an important stop over area for them. That is also a new discovery.

The new research was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The importance of northwest African stopover sites for Dutch, German and Danish Montagu’s Harriers: here.

Farmers and birdwatchers are being urged to keep a lookout for Montagu’s harriers – the rarest breeding bird of prey in the UK, which nests almost entirely on arable farmland: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

White-throated bee-eater, new species for North Africa


This video says about itself:

On Location: The White-Throated Bee-Eater

The White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It breeds in semi-desert along the southern edge of the Sahara, Africa. The White-throated Bee-eater is migratory, wintering in a completely different habitat in the equatorial rainforests of Africa from southern Senegal to Uganda.

This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly-coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green, but its face and throat are white with a black crown, eye stripe, and neckband. The underparts are pale green shading to blue on the breast. The eye is red and the beak is black.

The White-throated Bee-eater can reach a length of 19-21 cm, excluding the two very elongated central tail feathers, which can exceed an additional length of 12 cm. They weigh between 20 and 28 grams. Sexes are alike. The call is similar to European Bee-eater.

The White-throated Bee-eater is a bird which breeds in dry sandy open country, such thorn scrub and near-desert. These abundant bee-eaters are gregarious, nesting colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long 1-2 m tunnel in which the 6 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, but up to five helpers also assist with caring for the young.

White-throated Bee-eaters also feed and roost communally. As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch. However, this species probably takes mainly flying ants and beetles. Widespread and common throughout its large range, the White-throated Bee-eater is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The other white-throated bee-eater video, below here, shows this species rather poorly, compared to the first video. However, it is still a special video, as it recorded a white-throated bee-eater much further to the north than usually.

This video says about itself:

White throated Bee eater, Gleb Jdiane, Morocco, Dec 2013. Noëlle & Hervé Jacob.

4 Jan 2014

Video footage of the first White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis) for the Western Palearctic.

The bird was seen at Gleb Jdiane, a few kilometres south-east of Dakhla on the Aousserd road, Oued Dahab, southern Morocco on 5 and 6 December 2013 by Noëlle and Hervé Jacob.

From Birdwatch magazine in Britain:

Birders score Western Palearctic first

Posted on: 04 Jan 2014

Two French birders managed to video an exotic regional first while on a birding trip to the hot-spot of Gleb Jdiane, Western Sahara, last month.

Noëlle and Hervé Jacob were on a trip to the disputed desert territory – jointly administered by Morocco and Mauretania – and on the morning of 5 December were waiting for sandgrouse to appear at a well-known waterhole at Gleb Djiane, about 14.5 miles along the Aousserd road.

They said: “We saw a White-throated Bee-eater perched on a tamarisk, that was observable for at least 10 minutes until a Southern Grey Shrike chased it away. Sadly, we were unable to take photos, because we didn’t realise that this bird was not supposed to be there.

“The following morning we went back having missed the sandgrouse, probably partly because it had rained over the previous days and there were several other waterholes in the desert. Fortunately, the bee-eater was still there, but we could not get the car we were using as a hide any closer, so we were only able to shoot the poor video footage.

“The bird will be the first for both Morocco and the Western Palearctic, though the area is legendary for producing many regionally hard-to-get species such as Sudan Golden Sparrow, Cricket Warbler and Dunn’s Lark.

White-throated Bee-eater is a seasonally nomadic species which wanders the most at the beginning and end of the rainy season in the Sahel, and it is likely that due to the unseasonal rains this individual ranged further than most. Anecdotal reports suggest that the rains are particularly late this year, and this bee-eater species would usually be on the savannah to the south of the arid regions by now.

Enhanced by Zemanta