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The Migration Study Group - Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

30 years of the EU Birds Directive

 

Today the EU's first nature law, the Birds Directive, celebrates its 30th anniversary. The legislation is one of the greatest achievements of European environmental policy and plays very important role in halting biodiversity loss. The Birds Directive helped reversing the decline of some of Europe's most threatened birds. Thanks to targeted action by the European Union, national governments, conservationists and volunteers to implement it on the ground, many birds now face a much brighter future.

The Birds Directive is an excellent example of shared responsibility and cooperation among the European states.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "The Birds Directive is

(..) a practical expression of our commitment to global biodiversity conservation. Birds are not only intrinsically beautiful and a priceless part of our natural heritage, they are also vital indicators of the health of the environment".

 

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Thursday, March 19th, 2009

A better Spring for Malta

I grew up in a hunting family. My grandfather was a hunter, and so are some of my uncles. As a child, I used to enjoy going out in the fields with my grandfather early in the morning, where he used to hunt. I used to spend most of my holidays in my grandparents’ house. I could play anywhere…except in the sitting room. This large room was always kept closed in the dark and it was only used on special family occasions. Dominating the room was a huge mahagony showcase, in which grandfather kept his shotgun and his prized collection of stuffed birds. I loved to sneak in this room from time to time and stare at all those birds, who in turn, kept staring back at me with lifeless eyes.
 
Grandfather was a nice man. He was kind and gentle with everybody. The only reason why he hunted birds was because that was the only way he knew of appreciating them. Unfortunately, many in Malta still have this negative mentality and express their love for birds by hunting or trapping them.
 
The results are evident. Very few birds breed in Malta. We get lots of migrants in spring and autumn, but an army of hunters and trappers makes sure that many of them never leave our shores. Till quite recently, thousands of wintering robins used to be trapped by boys and kept in cages. Most died within a couple of days. Hunters even used to shoot at swallows and swifts as target practice. The largest woodland in the island used to teem with hunters in September, waiting for the birds of prey to start roosting in the trees…and then gun them down. Those who could afford it used to wait offshore for incoming flocks in high-powered speedboats, and then chase them until they gunned them all down.
 
When BirdLife Malta started campaigning and educating to eradicate illegal hunting, it was ridiculed by some, and bullied by others. Slowly the mentality started to change and at last we are getting results. Yes, birds are still being killed in large numbers, and protected species still get shot down by poachers, but good progress is being made. A massive education campaign eradicated robin trapping. Offshore hunting is now illegal for eight months of the year. Due to strict enforcement, most offshore hunters have given up and sold their speedboats. Last year was the first time ever that the spring hunting season remained closed, and as from 1st January 2009, bird trapping became an illegal activity.
 
Less birds of prey are being shot, and cases of shooting on migrating eagles and storks (as unfortunately happened again last autumn) now make headline news on newspapers and television, followed by a public outcry of disapproval. Target-shooting on swallows and swifts has decreased to such an extent that now some pairs are finally managing to breed in Malta too.
 
In many European countries, swallows are considered as messangers of spring. Here in Malta, swallows are bringing us a message too – a message of hope for a better future for birds and nature.
 
For further conservation news from Malta, please look at http://360.yahoo.com/virdillija
 

Jason Aloisio

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Pictures

Take some time to look at the pictures on this website. You will find them here: http://www.migraction.net/index.php?m_id=7

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

70614

is the number of migrating Cranes counted at Flavignac, Haute-Vienne. Lac du Der in Champagne is a well-known site for Cranes among birders. Flavignac, at 25 km from Limoges, remains to be discovered by visiting birders. No less than 74000 Cranes were counted there on diurnal spring migration in 2008, a record number for the Limousin region. Thousands of Cranes fly over Flavignac in a very short time. This spring, 70614 Cranes were counted and the season is not over yet. 

For more information about Flavignac, see

http://www.migraction.net/index.php?m_id=112&frmSite=35&graph=synthesis&action=list

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Monday, March 2nd, 2009

5090

is the number of Bee-eaters counted at Fort de la Revère, Alpes-Maritimes, last autumn. 

Fort de la Revère is the southeasternmost migration watchpoint in France, situated between Nice and Monaco. Although the watchpoint is only 14 km from the Italian border, most migratory birds will fly in a southwesterly direction during autumn (towards Spain).   

The following link will reveal the totals at Fort de la Revère in autumn 2008. The intensity of the red colour reflects the number of migrants. If you go over the squares, totals per decade will appear:

http://www.migraction.net/index.php?frmSite=6&graph=synthesismonth&m_id=112&action=list&year=2008&frmSpecies=0&frmDoy=317&f=0

Here you can read the bird report for 2008 (in French):

http://www.migraction.net/pdffiles/news/2008_Bilan_Revere-3453.pdf

More information about the migration watchpoint (in English):

http://www.migraction.net/index.php?m_id=1510&frmSite=6

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Friday, February 27th, 2009

Search tip 2: Where is Organbidexka?

Most birders will have heard of Organbidexka as a symbol of resistance againts excessive hunting. This migration watchpoint has a very detailed observation protocol and a unique data set on bird migration. Anyone can consult it on Migraction. 

On our homepage you will see a map of France. If you select a dot, the names of the migration watchpoints will appear. In southwestern France, you will see three blue dots (that implies that there are only autumn/fall counts at these sites): from west to east, you will discover Col de Lizarrieta, Redoute de Lindux and Col d'Organbidexka.

Select Organbidexka. Under "watchpoint" you will find a brief description in English with a few pictures. The "igloo" at Organbidexka has a satellite connection with Migraction. You can follow migration "in real time". Under "graphs" you can look at the data from Organbidexka. If you select "all years" and "Black Kite" a series of graphs appears. In 1981 1406 Black Kites migrated over Organbidexka, whereas 33194 were counted in 2007!

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Friday, February 27th, 2009

Search tip 1: When are Bee-eaters migrating in France?

In Migraction any visitor (also without a password) can look up when a particular species is migrating in France. The system gives different percentages of all migrants and the duration of migration in days. 

e.g. "When are Bee-eaters migrating in France? "

Select:

1. "Annual reports" (in the grey-blue column on the left, below the dark blue heading "Data base" and "Sightings")

2. "All sites" (on top of the list of migration watchpoints)

3. "All years" (on top of the list of years)

4. Species: "Bee-eater"

A more advanced interactive analysis is available to migration watchers actively contributing to the data base (with login and password). 

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
Pierre-Aiguille - Friday, February 27th, 2009

White Pelican on migration through France

The White Pelican that wintered in Lleida and was seen at Aiguamolls de L'Empordà next, has been sighted at three places in France:

25 February: at Pierre-Aiguille, Crozes-Hermitage (Drôme) on migration with 80 White Storks

25/26 February: Clérieux (Drôme) it spends the night on a pylon (with 24 White Storks)

26/27 February: Chalamont (Ain) it roosts at Les Dombes

 

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
Pierre-Aiguille - Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The White Pelican is back in France!

Last reported at Aiguamolls on 12th February, the White Pelican was seen today at Pierre-Aiguille.

There were also two Snowfinches there today.

 

 

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
The Migration Study Group - Friday, February 6th, 2009

For those of you who read French, our latest newsletter has been posted here:

www.migraction.net/pdffiles/news/bul-migration4_rev5.pdf

Good reading!

 
posted by Gunter De Smet, edited by Anonyme
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