I am sure anyone reading this knows that the hunting of birds in Lebanon as with elsewhere in the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa is a serious problem. Birdlife International in their report “The Killing” estimated that 2.6m birds are killed here every year. Migratory species seem to be especially targeted, and every year on social media we see numerous pictures of dead raptors, storks, pelicans and many others. Awareness of the problems around bird hunting in Lebanon is growing amongst the general population.
After several years of planning, the updated Arabic version of the field guide to the Birds of the Middle East has been launched today at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai. A panel chaired by Peter Hellyer, a member of the Emirates Bird Records Committee discussed the importance of the Arabic language field guide. The book was introduced by co-author, Richard Porter, who stressed the importance of encouraging children to develop an interest in birds and birding, and how he hoped this book would help achieve that. Whilst Richard told tales about the way in which children in Yemen had scrambled to get copies of leaflets about their country's birds, Emirati birder Ahmed Al Ali explained how it was difficult for young Emiratis to get excited about birds without anything available in Arabic. Oscar Campbell, chairman of the Emirates Bird Records Committee and himself a teacher
This weekend sees the official launch of an updated Arabic version of the Birds of the Middle East. Richard Porter is currently in Dubai at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature where he will be giving a talk on Wars and Wildlife followed by the official book launch event on Saturday 11th March. Joining him for the book launch will be OSME members and local UAE birders, Ahmed Al Ali, Oscar Campbell and Peter Hellyer.
The number of fully documented slender-billed curlew nests ever found could be counted on one hand. And they all come from the turn of last century from near Omsk in Siberian Russia. This area falls just outside the OSME region but this species was a regular passage and wintering visitor, even if it did not breed.
There are several sites along the Okhotsk Sea where waders make their first stopovers before their southward migration. For the last several years our group have worked on the largest known wader stopover on the western coast of Kamchatka peninsula, in the estuary Khairusova-Belogolovaya river.
Of all the birds that have occurred in the OSME region, the slender-billed curlew is now perhaps the most enigmatic. Even after the recent review by Guy Kirwan et al. of records from the region, it is clear from the historical distribution of the species that the Middle East was both a passage and wintering area of this critically endangered species.
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Sandgrouse is published by OSME contains papers and short notes on the ornithology of the OSME region, provides bird and conservation news from the region and a comprehensive round up of bird sightings in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia.