This year’s raffle will be raising funds to support work by Nature Iraq on the globally endangered Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis, one of the most threatened passerines in the OSME region. The species is classed as endangered due to its small population size, estimated at 2,500 to 9,999 individuals, which is believed to be declining. The main breeding population is in Iraq, notably the Mesopotamian marshes of south-east Iraq. The species migrates south through Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, before wintering in north-east and east Africa, Since the 1950s there has been considerable loss of its shallow, marshy wetland habitat due to large-scale hydrological projects throughout the Euphrates and Tigris river-basins. More recently, the draining of the Mesopotamian marshes resulted in a huge loss of good quality breeding habitat which must have accelerated population declines. The key threat to the conservation of the species remains habitat loss and degradation, both on the breeding and wintering grounds.
In 2014, Nature Iraq, the BirdLife partner, are planning to undertake much needed research to learn more about the breeding behaviour and requirements, and to use this information to develop a species action plan and identify conservation actions. OSME will directly support ornithologists from Nature Iraq to undertake innovative research using remote nest cameras to monitor nest survival and breeding success of Basra Reed Warblers. The results will be used to inform future habitat restoration projects.
This year’s raffle prizes are:
1st Opticron Imagic BGA SE 8x42 binoculars (value £439)
2nd Naturetrek holiday voucher (value £250)
3rd Birdguides Breeding Birds of the Western Palearctic DVD (value £75)
4th Country Innovtion New Venture waistcoat (value £65)
5th Helm/Poyser books to the value of £50
6th Birdguides Guide to British Birds DVD (value £40)
Tickets, costing £5 for a book of five, are now on sale and can be obtained from the Treasurer, OSME, c/o The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL. However, if you are unable or would prefer not to buy tickets but would like to support this important project, you can make a donation to OSME by sending a sterling cheque to the Treasurer or by debit/credit card via the OSME website – www.osme.org. If you wish to use the website facility, from the Join OSME page of the site, click on the Use credit card link in the side bar and enter the amount you would like to donate in the appropriate box and then click Submit your subscription. This will take you to the checkout page where you can delete the subscription entry by setting it to zero and pressing Recalculate. Then click on Go to Payments to enter your details and complete the transaction. If you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your donation can be increased at no cost to yourself by Gift Aiding it. If you have not yet completed a Gift Aid form, a form can be obtained from the Treasurer.