Working for birds in Africa



Unpublished migratory soaring birds records needed

As part of the UNDP/BirdLife International ‘Migratory Soaring Birds project’, a wind energy development sensitivity mapping model is being developed to highlight those areas where there is a high probability of collision between migrating soaring birds and wind turbines and associated infrastructure. The Migratory Soaring Birds project encompasses the Rift Valley/Red Sea migratory flyway which is considered to be the second most important migratory soaring birds flyway in the world and extends from Syria in the north to Djibouti in the south.

In order to develop the sensitivity model, data on migratory bird occurrence is needed from all parts of the flyway but currently there is a bias towards the well known bottlenecks at either end of the Red Sea (Eilat, Suez and Bab el-Mandeb) and a small number of locations in between. Therefore the project is seeking unpublished data, no matter how minimal, to help fill the gaps. Such information could be opportunistic observations, incidental records as part of a wider ornithological study or systematic counts that have never been published. To facilitate inclusion into the database, information should be presented as Excel spreadsheets with information entered into separate fields as indicated ( ; = separate field)

  • Genus; species
  • Location – Country; Site name; plus EITHER Latitude; Longitude OR UTM zone; Easting; Northing. If neither of these is available, please describe the location as accurately as possible so that its coordinates can be calculated.
  • Date – dd; mm; yyyy
  • Start time (24 hour format)
  • Finish time (24 hour format)
  • Number of birds
  • Direction of flight (N, S, E, SE etc)
  • Approximate altitude (m)
  • Comments

We appreciate that not all of the information listed above will be available for every observation eg start and finish times, altitude, but please provide as much information as possible.

Additionally, we are also interested in receiving ‘negative data’ – details of when you have visited an area specifically looking for migration but then seeing no birds. This data is very valuable as currently when modelling, if a location has no records, the computer assumes that the site has not been visited. However, if we know that birds do not use the site this information can be shown in the dataset and the computer will take this into account and produce a more accurate model. Such ‘observations’ can be submitted in the same format as above but, of course, all of the species data fields will be blank.

Please also provide full contact details when submitting your records.

Whilst records from all parts of the flyway will be valuable, we are particularly interested in records from Sudan, Djibouti and Egypt.

With a rapidly growing interest in renewable energy sources, especially wind power, the risk of major conflicts between wind farms and migratory soaring birds is only going to increase. Therefore developing an accurate model that can be promoted to governments and developers is key to developing strategies that reduce the possibility of conflicts at an early stage in the planning process.

Please submit all records to either [email protected] or [email protected]

Very many thanks,

Geoff Welch and Richard Porter

ABC Library

The ABC maintains a library of information for the use of Club members. Based in the UK, a major part of this is journals covering African ornithology. The contents are listed here. If you have journals to fill our gaps do please consider offering them. Offers should be communicated to Chris Spooner. Email: [email protected] 

ABC needs your old Bulletins

The African Bird Club is looking for copies of its old Bulletins. If you have any Bulletin copies which you no longer need and would be happy to donate, please contact us.

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