Mike Ford’s ringing site

Well, not quite Mike’s, but the Aras River Ringing site in Turkey where he is spending three months ringing the migrants. This is the third time that Mike’s been there and from his presentation to the club we are aware of the importance of this wetland.
Cagan Sekercioglu from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City sent out this email yesterday:
“On this Earth Day, I ask your support to save one of Turkey’s most important wetlands, the Aras River wetlands that is also my long-term ornithological research site. We have documented 240 of Turkey’s 470 bird species here, and 40% of all of Turkey’s land vertebrate species. More are likely to occur. This site meets 4 different criteria of a Ramsar wetland of global importance, but is about to be destroyed by a dam. Further details are in the petition below. I’d be grateful if you can sign it and spread the word through social media (Facebook & Twitter)”

Please take the trouble to visit the website and if you feel strongly enough, add your name to the petition.
I hope Mike won’t mind if I share with you a photo of his ‘dream bird’ which he managed to ring one late afternoon at the end of March – and then put it in a cardboard box till the next morning to take this photo!

Pallid Harrier

Pallid Harrier

Prince Edward Islands

News received via BirdLife South Africa: The Department of Environmental Affairs announced that South Africa’s subAntarctic territory, the Prince Edward Islands, has had an enormous Marine Protected Area declared.
The islands are internationally renowned for their important seabird colonies, including holding nearly half of the global population of Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans), 13% of the world’s King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), and one of the highest numbers of breeding seabird species (26) of any island in the world. BirdLife International lists the islands as an Important Bird Area in recognition of its irreplaceable biodiversity value. BirdLife is also working at identifying marine Important Bird Areas across the world’s oceans, and the new MPA overlaps with several proposed marine IBAs. The establishment of the multi-zoned MPA will afford protection for many of the breeding seabirds (and other marine life). For example, the establishment of a 12 nautical mile no-take zone around both islands will help to ensure that seabird species such as Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) and Crozet Shag (Phalacrocorax melanogenis), which feed exclusively within this area and which have suffered large decreases in recent times, will not face additional pressures from new activities in their feeding ranges.
Dr Ross Wanless, Seabird Division Manager at BirdLife South Africa, commented “This declaration represents the culmination of a lot of work by many dedicated scientists and conservationists over many years. Marine Protected Areas have great potential to protect seabirds and other marine biodiversity, and the scale and nature of the Prince Edward Islands MPA is impressive. I do not doubt that it will benefit all marine life in the area, especially if the restrictions on fishing, which can cause significant seabird mortality, can be enforced.”