Friday, 27 March 2009

End of Sociables

John and Graham fly back to Scotland in a couple of days, the Sociable Lapwing side of things now complete. Myself and Hywell are around for a while yet with weeks each based in the Jebel ab Al Aziz, a desert mountain range in the north east, and Latakia in the NW near the coast. Both projects are to undertake surveys of woodland areas for the associated government ministry.

In summary the Lapwing work went well, but we perhaps didn’t connect with as many birds as hoped. It was something of a needle in a haystack job with difficult logistics and security. Sites, habitat and numbers were logged and data passed onto the authorities. Hunters were apprehended at one site and moved on from another (hunting is illegal in Syria) and the profile raising and education side has gone very well.

It looks like the steppe areas were slow to green up this year, due to dryer than normal conditions, which meant many historically good locations weren’t up to scratch when the Sociables moved through. Word is now reaching us that birds are in Iran and Turkmenistan, so they are heading north east and have now passed Syria.