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Members receive 2 issues of Sandgrouse each year. Support us by joining OSME or renewing your subscription.

Hypocolius Project – can you help?

The Hypocolius (Hypocolius ampelinus) is a target species for many birders visiting the OSME region, and it is the sole extant member of its genus and family. This small passerine has a relatively large range, with its breeding grounds covering parts of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait, and a non-breeding range extending towards the south in Kuwait, KSA, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and portions of Iran, Pakistan and India. Despite its high profile with birders, there are no robust population estimates or understanding of population trends.

Illegal killing of birds in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran: peer-review

Regular readers of this website will be aware that OSME and BirdLife International are working on an assessment of the scale of illegal bird killing across the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran. Data have already been collated and reviewed for most of the countries within our study area and we are now finalising the data for Iran and Saudi Arabia. We are inviting those with a knowledge of the birds of Iran and Saudi Arabia to provide comments on our preliminary data.

EI in the UAE: a story of one Great Knot

Earlier this year you may remember Dmitry Dorofev and Oscar Campbell wrote a guest blog about the sighting of a colour-ringed Great Knot observed in the United Arab Emirates. On 20 January 2017, Great Knot ‘EI’ was located and photographed amongst a small flock of 20 Great Knots, at Khor al Beida, some 8300km from where it was originally ringed in Kamchatka, Russia. This resighting is of particular interest as it is the first confirmation obtained that Great Knots staging in Kamchatka reach as far west as the Arabian Gulf.

Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East – An Annotated Checklist. Dominic Mitchell. 2017. Lynx Edicions. Barcelona, Spain

Let’s cut to the chase. There are no pictures between the covers – this book contains data, the condensed relevant information that comprises the first comprehensive 21st-century checklist covering an updated and well-rationalised definition of the Western Palearctic bird checklist. Superficially, this is a book for data junkies who like birds, and yes, doubtless they will appreciate it for that reason. However, it is far more than that, for not only does this book deserve to sit on academics’ shelves, for once it has been examined closely, it also will appeal to those who are hooked on the way science uncovers mysteries and the way it often producing counter-intuitive results that disturb comfortable, long-held assumptions. 

A Birdwatcher's Guide to Madaba

Recent publication by Jordan Birdwatch Association (JBW) -  A Birdwatcher's Guide to Madaba written by Fares Khoury. This describes 15 sites in the Madaba region which comprises a variety of bird habitats and scenic landscapes overlooking the Dead Sea. Chapter headings include maps, site coordinates, accommodation details, habitat descriptions, systematic checklists as well as explaining why the Madaba region is a definite place for a birder to visit.

Fares is OSME Country Contact in Jordan and secretary of JBRC (Jordan Bird Records Committee) and provides regular reports for Sandgrouse.


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