Each spring since April 2009, Nature Iraq has conducted ornithological survey expeditions in and around the vast arid western and central deserts of Iraq, hoping to find Sociable Lapwings that might be passing through the country on their northerly migration back to Kazakhstan.
In addition to the eyewitness reports we’ve received confirming Sociable Lapwing migration is now well underway; Abaj, Dina and Dana, three of the four birds we are satellite-tracking this autumn, have also begun their post-breeding migrations.
BirdLife International scientists monitoring migrating Sociable Lapwings in the heart of the Great Steppe have recently discovered the largest single flock seen in Kazakhstan since 1939.
In order to increase our monitoring capability, two further female Sociable Lapwings were trapped and fitted with satellite-tracking devices in Central Kazakhstan this spring.
A positive signal from Abaj received in a transmission made on April 14th confirms he has now made it safely back to his breeding grounds in central Kazakhstan, just north-west of Lake Tengiz.
Following a number of ambiguous signals over the past few weeks, we have just received confirmation that Dinara has made it back to southern Kazakhstan.
Omar Fadhil is an ecologist and wildlife photographer working for Nature Iraq.
After spending the winter in western India (near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat) Dinara has set off on a long journey north back towards her breeding grounds and is now already in Tajikistan about 50 km north-east of Khorog.
In September 2010, Nature Iraq undertook a combined monitoring and advocacy exercise in several areas of Iraq where Sociable Lapwings have been previously found on passage.
Here you can see a group of school children holding up posters that explain the rarity of the species and urge local communities to participate in their protection.
After an absence of any firm location data since early October, Erzhan – our most experienced traveller – has just popped up on our radar again. For the fourth year running we can confirm he is now back in a wintering flock in Sudan.