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The “Garden of Eden” in Iraq now internationally protected as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention (Switzerland, 29 September 2015)

OSME has received the welcome news that the Government of Iraq has recently designated the Central Marshes and the Hammar Marsh in the southern part of the country as Wetlands of International Importance (‘Ramsar Sites’) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These two marshes, together with the existing Hawizeh Marsh Ramsar Site, form the last remnants of the once extensive, lush and richly diverse Mesopotamian Marshlands in southern Iraq.

The 2015 OSME Region List and its underpinning taxonomy

The taxonomy in del Hoyo, J and NJ Collar. 2014HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World Volume 1: Non-passerines. (Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. 903 pages, hundreds of colour plates) employs the Tobias et al 2010 system of quantitative criteria for species delimitation (See on-line reference for free PDF). The Tobias system, which aimed to provide a working set of criteria that would improve consistency of 

OSME and the Birdfair 2015

Although it is a month since the UK Birdfair weekend, in many ways it seems like it was only yesterday! The Birdfair is one of the most important dates in the birdwatching calendar with conservation organisations, NGOs, and companies selling everything from books to optics to holidays, all converging on Rutland Water for the 3-day birders equivalent of Glastonbury.

Basra Reed Warbler update

As readers of this blog will know there has been much concern over the scientific claims made in a paper published in the journal Zoology in the Middle East. The manuscript and follow up publications can be found (here), and the full citations of the papers are at the bottom of this blogpost.

The Basra Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis) is listed as Endangered by the IUCN, and is a species that may in the future benefit from targeted conservation action. In the opinion of many scientists the methods used to reach the conclusions of the original paper highlighted below, did not reflect well established ornithological techniques. 

Joint winter meeting 21st November 2015

This November we are teaming up with the British Ornithologists’ Club and the Natural History Museum for a joint winter meeting focussing on “Bird monitoring within the OSME region”. It will be held at the Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD on Saturday 21st November.  The doors will open at 10.00am and the first speaker of the day will be Nick Moran of the BTO, explaining “the value of BirdTrack as a bird recording tool in the OSME region.” 

Gareth Bradbury & James Darke of WWT Consulting will introduce an exciting monitoring project 


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