“We were carefully fitting the swallows with rings so we can monitor their movements when we spotted a bird already carrying one”, said Mount Moreland bird-ringer Andrew Pickles. “A magnifying glass provided the words Helsinki - Finland!”
The Barn Swallow undertakes one of the world’s most remarkable migrations, with many individuals flying thousands of miles in spring to breed in Europe and then repeating the feat in the autumn, to spend the boreal winter in southern Africa.
The equipment has numerous sophisticated functions, including pan, tilt and zoom, so close-up images of chicks hatching out of eggs, parents feeding their chicks, and many other aspects of the previously unseen breeding behaviour of Lesser Flamingos are now available to wildlife enthusiasts around the world. Infrared lights allow for 24 hour / day viewing, and a microphone allows one to hear the hustle and bustle of life in the flamingo colony. On the website, one can either see live-streaming images or static images which are refreshed every ten seconds.
The scientists found what they believe are three new species of butterfly, a previously undiscovered adder snake and new populations of rare birds. They also expect to find new plants among the hundreds of specimens they have brought back with them. Photographs from the trip - published here for the first time - show just part of the forest, tropical creepers, giant snakes such as the gaboon viper, and other wilodlife seen by the team, including small klipspringer and blue duiker antelope, noisy samango monkeys, elephant shrew, and the granite-like rocky peak of Mount Mabu.
Walt Disney produced wildlife documentaries called the ‘True-Life Adventure’ series between 1948 and 1960. These Oscar-winning films showed people the beauty of the natural world. The Crimson Wing marks the return of Disney to the genre. “We hope these films will contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the beauty and fragility of our natural world”, said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
Cousin Island – a small island in Seychelles - is today home to a wealth of globally important wildlife. It is the most significant nesting site for Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata in the Western Indian Ocean, and supports over 300,000 nesting seabirds of seven species.
Soaring migratory birds glide between areas of rising hot air to aid their long-distance passage. This method, which cannot be used over large water bodies or high mountains, limits the potential routes and concentrates birds into vulnerable corridors. Egypt is at a critical geographic bottleneck for soaring migratory birds, and at the time of the recent deaths thousands of birds were passing through the country.
Classified as Critically Endangered, Slender-billed Curlew is the rarest species found in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, with no confirmed records since 1999. Regarded as very common in the 19th century, it declined dramatically during the 20th. It migrated from its presumed breeding grounds in Siberia, across central and eastern Europe to wintering grounds in North Africa and the Middle East. Flocks of over 100 birds were recorded from Morocco as late as the 1960s and 1970s.
During the conference, Tanzania's Environment Minister spoke about Lake Natron as: "the flamingo's birthplace". She continued: "Tanzania is conscious of the potential that the wise use of wetlands can offer to sustain the economic and social activities of a wide range of public and private stakeholders".
The pilot scheme is part of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project, a large collaborative initiative aimed at conserving migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the African-Eurasian region. WOW has been operational in Nigeria since the middle of 2007, and is working with local partners to foster local solutions to the environmental challenges they face with regard to the wetlands and their livelihoods.
"The livelihood security of millions of rural people all over Africa is inextricably linked with biodiversity and the use of biological resources, either through the direct use of the goods which they supply to people, or indirectly through the wider environmental and cultural services", said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson, BirdLife Director for Africa and Secretariat Head. "This is what BirdLife in Africa has been showcasing through this project and it's satisfying to see results".