A group of birdwatchers – members of the Hellenic Ornithological Society – woke up at dawn the 1st May in order to see the new bird species for Greece: the Pallas's Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus). However, this time they did not go to some distant destination- not even to a protected area close to Athens- but to Mt. Ymittos, where the bird had arrived from distant Siberia!
The species had been discovered by Michael Kotsakis, an HOS member and volunteer, just the night before: “I didn’t dare to think that it was a Pallas's Warbler! At first, I overlooked it thinking that it was a common species. However, after a while, I discerned certain special characteristics. I thought it was a Yellow Browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), a rare species which had already been monitored in Greece. But when I sent its photos to the HOS’s birdwatching forum, the more experienced birdwatchers identified the species as the Pallas’s Warbler. It is a lifelong dream for every birdwatcher to spot a new species, let alone if it is just few kilometres away from the centre of Athens!” the volunteer said.
The Secretary of the Hellenic Rarities Committee, Nikos Probonas, commented: “After the – official – approval of the Committee, the Pallas’s Warbler is the 444th species monitored in Greece. This is a pleasant surprise for all of us, especially if we consider that this small bird (10 cm long and weighing just a few grams) has travelled such a long distance. At the same time, this is further evidence for the value of Mt. Ymittos and the surrounding areas of Athens”.
Birdwatching is an increasingly popular activity that satisfies the need to be in touch with and also learn more about nature in both an entertaining and educational manner. Contrary to the widely held impression that birdwatching is an activity that can only be done in protected areas, it can also take place in urban environments, where green spaces are becoming more and more rare. Moreover, it is an activity that contributes to the protection of wildlife, which is also of social and financial value.
On the 15th of September 2014, a wide range of stakeholders met in Brussels to discuss Rural Development Plans for the period 2014-2020 and options for pushing forward environmental objectives. The Conference was organised by Fundatia ADEPT, BirdLife Europe, CEEweb and the European Environmental Bureau.
Invasive alien species are animals or plants that are introduced, deliberately or accidentally, into new environments. In Israel, some invasive plants are giving Hanson Israel (a subsidiary of the HeidelbergCement Group) a bad time. These problems were pointed out to Hanson by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI, BirdLife Partner). Building on the initial success of their cooperation, these two organisations are now launching a new joint project to promote “IAS free quarries” in Israel.
EuroBirdwatch - BirdLife’s biggest birdwatching event in Europe and Central Asia - will take place this year on the weekend of 4 - 5 October. Join us to explore the beauty of birds and experience the magic of bird migration!
As many other bird species in Europe, the Common Quail and the Turtle Dove are being victims of a common practice that brings only concerns to the bird lovers: an uncontrolled hunting for which the laws seem not to be sensitive enough.The Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS - BirdLife Affiliate in Serbia) has given voice to these common concerns asking the authorities for these two species to enlarge the list of protected birds in the country and abandon their status of game birds.
Janez Potocnick, European Commissioner for Environment until last August, expresses his support to the Natura 2000 network. Mr. Potocnick qualifies it as “one of the biggest achievements in the EU Environmental Policy” in a video produced within the frame of the LIFE project Activa Red Natura 2000 – Connecting people with Biodiversity by SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) and the Spanish news agency EFE.
As the streets and corridors of Brussels were slowing down and luggage for holidays was being filled up over the last days of July, the European Commission finally found the courage to publish its new assessment of the sustainability of bioenergy
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