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Welcome to BirdWING

BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece) has been set up to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. Birdwing has supporters from all over the world.

 
 

Newsletter 28 - Winter 2019/20

We’ve been overwhelmed with your generous donations and messages of support since our last newsletter. The appeal to raise money for anti-poison dogs has been very successful and we are very grateful to be able to help their valuable work to continue. We hope you enjoy reading our news below.  

 

Anti-poison dog appeal target exceeded!

Over €5,200 has been donated to our appeal (well over our £4000 target) to help fund the anti-poison dog units in Greece!

We are very grateful to those who contributed, with particular thanks going to several organisations and individuals:

  • Greenwings Wildlife Holidays
  • Centre d’Etudes et de Protection des Oiseaux  de Bienne et environs (CEPOB) in Switzerland
  • Birding in Greece (Lefteris Stavrakas)
  • Tolka Branch BirdWatch Ireland
  • Hotel Limnaio and Itavros
  • Peter and Ans Goedhart
  • Holger Kretzschmann
  • Claudia Wolkerstorfer
  • Meriel Wilmot-Wright
  • Rosena McShane
  • Michel Gigon
  • Chris Driver
  • David Parker
  • Andy Broadhurst

Obviously we can’t mention everyone’s name but we are very grateful to you all for your support!

Read more below about the stories of some of the groups who contributed.

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More nest-boxes at the Evros Delta

Following the success of our existing nest-boxes at Evros, Birdwing have recently paid for a local carpenter to construct new boxes for Rollers and Kestrels to be sited at the Delta and further afield. Thanks to Eleni and the Management Body Staff for assisting in this action.

During the autumn we erected new boxes and relocated others in more suitable sites across Northern Greece on trees and on telegraph poles (for which permission had been granted by local electricity companies). We have also erected smaller boxes for flycatchers and tits, including this one which, although only put up in October, it seems was discovered by a woodpecker who found the hole-size too small for its liking!


      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Our 20-20 vision

 

At the start of a new decade, and at a time when our planet is facing ecological disaster, we would like to involve you in the development of our vision for 2020 and beyond, for helping birds and wildlife in Greece. We would welcome suggestions for projects we could undertake and will consider funding any actions that meet with Birdwing’s aims of:

1) Raising awareness

  • to provide people with information and education about birds, wildlife and wider environmental issues and to nurture a love of wildlife in children and young people

2) Raising money

  • for direct habitat improvement projects to help birds, wildlife and the environment

3) Speaking out

  • to publicise issues impacting birds and wildlife in Greece and build a membership base for a collective voice on conservation issues

If you have an idea for a project or action in Greece that would directly help the natural world or provide education about birds and wildlife that requires funding and meets our aims we would be interested in hearing from you.

In this time of ecological destruction, we believe that it is vital and urgent that children and young people are encouraged to engage with the natural world and to develop a love of wildlife.

We are in discussions with Birdlife Greece about collaborating on a project for children aged 8-14 which we plan to tell you more about in our spring newsletter. In the meantime, however, we would particularly like to hear from you if you have any suggestions for actions Birdwing could undertake with this aim.

Please contact us at info@birdwing.eu

We would love to hear your ideas.

 

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Contributors' stories

Birdwing’s anti-poison dogs appeal received donations from a number of bird groups and organisations.

Centre d’Etudes et de Protection des Oiseaux  de Bienne et environs (CEPOB)

This lively and active club in Switzerland has been running for 40 years, with about 140 members. They publish a review twice a year and their activities include:

  • building nestboxes for swallows, swifts, and owls
  • working to maintain biodiversity, like cutting shrubs in swamps, pruning hedges etc..
  • participating in waterbirds censuses,
  • working on a study about Tengmalm owls in the Jura mountains
  • encouraging interest in birds through talks, shows, trips...

Find out more at www.CEPOB.ch.

Birding in Greece

This Greek organization offers birdwatching and photography tours tailored to your own requirements. They are dedicated exclusively to the organization of activities related to nature and wildlife in Greece. Their fundamental objective is to highlight the unique nature of the country, to people at home and abroad, while offering unforgettable moments and the experience of a lifetime.

Find out more at www.birdingingreece.gr

 

BirdWatchIreland is the equivalent of RSPB and is Ireland's largest independent conservation group. The Tolka Branch is one of three in the Dublin area, arranging talks and outings during the year. All activities are open to the public, not just to BirdWatch members.

The Chair of the group, Dermot McCabe says, “For the past fifteen years, we have had an annual springtime trip (two to eight people) to Northern Greece and have availed of your most useful guide ‘Birdwatching in Northern Greece’. One of our groups was happy to meet you both at the Eagle Owl site near Lithotopos a couple of years ago. We organised a talk on the Raptors of the Northern Balkans last October with some of our pictures taken over the years, and as it coincided with the appeal, we decided on a collection.

Find out more at www.dublinbirding.com

 

Greenwings

The wildlife holiday company Greenwings donated £750 towards our anti-poison dogs appeal. Their strong focus on conservation separates them from other holiday companies and we are very grateful to them for their long-standing and continued support.

The offer a number of excellent birdwatching and nature holidays to Greece, including one in May 2020 which we (Steve Mills and Hilary Koll) will be involved in running.

Find out more at www.greenwings.co

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Vultures in the Kompsatos valley

During 2019, as part of the “Conservation of black and griffon vultures in Rhodope mountains” project, WWF Greece established five small-sized feeding sites in the Kompsatos valley in the Greek part of the Rhodope Mountains, to support vultures in the region, with regular feeding that began in March. The five sites are fenced to keep mammals out and twenty stock breeders expressed their interest in supporting this action and signed the relevant papers with the Vet Service. So far, nine breeders have placed dead livestock in the sites. Meanwhile, WWF Greece also obtained permission to place food at the feeding sites aiming to assess the response of vultures to the new constructions. Trail cameras were also placed for recording the vultures and reading wing tags/plastic rings.

After 9 months of operation, a maximum of 10 Griffon vultures and 5 Black vultures have been recorded. Among them  were marked Griffon vultures from Bulgaria and Serbia, Black vultures marked in the National Park of Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli forest  and a Black vulture released in Bulgaria under the LIFE “Тhe Bright Future for Black Vulture” (LIFE14 NAT/BG/649). Moreover, as soon as the unique Egyptian vulture pair of the valley arrived from Africa in early spring, the birds directly located the feeding sites and soon became the most frequent users!

It is worth mentioning that one member of the pair was tagged with a satellite transmitter under the LIFE “The Return of the Neophron” (LIFE10 NAT/BG/000152) as a chick in Bulgaria in 2012 and this year successfully bred in Kompsatos valley.

In December, WWF Greece organized a demonstration visit of livestock breeders from Kompsatos valley to the Dadia National Park where they had the chance to observe vultures and learn about the importance of this area for raptors and vultures. Moreover, they realized the distance that vultures cover in a day from Dadia to Kompsatos searching for food; they also learned about the long term protection efforts of Dadia forest and the importance of common synergies throughout Rhodope Mountain for the survival of the species.

The operation of the feeding sites will be maintained by WWF Greece until the end of the project expecting more breeders to actively support this initiative and as result to see more flying and breeding vultures in the Thracian Meteora in the future.

For more see: www.rewilding-rhodopes.com/life-vultures-news/29648/

http://lifeneophron.eu/#a-the-great-meeting-of-egyptian-vultures-godparents

www.lifeneophron.eu/#a-are-the-egyptian-vultures-under-threat-from-nsaids-in-their-greek-territories

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Bird news round-up

There have been some unusual birds over-wintering or returning early to Greece this year. Reports of over-wintering Black and White Storks have increased, a Hoopoe has been seen in Thrace and the arrival of 6 Spur-winged Plover at Axios this month was a rather early sign of spring.

Dalmatian Pelicans are already wearing their breeding finery at Lake Kerkini, where a Pallas’ Gull was reported this month. The majority of the European population of Lesser White-fronted Geese have been in residence at the lake since their early arrival in September, with 96 individuals and it may be that once again they will remain here through the winter rather than moving on to the Evros Delta.

At Evros the flock of Greater White-fronts have been joined by five Red-breasted Geese. Several White-tailed Eagles are also on the delta along with plenty of Greater Spotted Eagles and a single Eastern Imperial. Four Little Bustards are also present.

Other sightings of note include 3 White-tailed Eagles and 6 Slavonian Grebes at Ismarida, 1244 White-headed Duck on Vistonida, reports of a Scaup and 6 Ruddy Shelduck at Volvi, 3 Eider at Amvrakikos and two Velvet Scoter at Alykes Kitrous.

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 Other news


New and repaired tern rafts -

Birdwing are in discussions about funding new tern rafts and repairing existing ones across Northern Greece. In addition to the new raft built and successfully used at the Evros Delta last year, Birdwing are hoping to fund a second raft at Lake Kerkini.  

 

Anti-poison dogs -  

Steve had the opportunity to promote the work of the anti-poison dogs in Greece and other Birdwing projects as part of a local Whitby Naturalists group event in Yorkshire, UK. Good numbers attended his talk at the Whitby Pavilion and money was also raised for Birdwing projects through sales of playing cards and other materials. 

 

Birdwing thanks -  

Thanks as always to the management bodies of the National Parks for their collaboration in undertaking projects to help birds, including monitoring, maintaining and constructing rafts, platforms and nest-boxes. Thanks again to all who have donated to our appeal and to the Hellenic Ornithological Society (Birdlife Greece) for there collaboration.  

If you have any queries contact us at info@birdwing.eu or go to www.birdwing.eu.

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