This extremely rare picture for Albania, has been sent to us from an AOS friend circa more than one month ago. At last, we decided to publish it despite the internal debates on the image considering that the following information is very important and it could not be neglected. This is the first ever published evidence in the last 25 years on the existence of the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) in Albania. The species has the size of a pheasant and it usually occurs in habitats with low grass plants, often in dry and salted lands. Males and females differ in their plumage. The global population of the Little Bustard is estimated at 100,000-499,000 individuals (BirdLife International, 2018. Species factsheet: Tetrax tetrax). The species is composed by two breeding widely separated populations, the eastern one concentrated in Russia and Kazakhstan, the western in Spain and Portugal. Despite its widespread distribution and its high number of individuals, the species is considered as Nearly Threatened (NT) due to the strong decline in many countries and particularly in Europe. In the Balkan Peninsula, the species is reported either extinct or in very strong decline. Its presence in Albania, reintroduces the country in the distribution map of the species, gives credits to the dry and salted lands, lowland dry terrains and agricultural plots with low vegetation as important habitats for this species and other ground nesting birds, raises the awareness for more ornithological surveys such understudied areas and demands stronger cooperation with farmers, hunters and other interested citizens.
White Storks (Ciconia ciconia), those birds rare in Albania but so close to mankind, are now back and ready to nest again. Both future parents have started building their nest, at the same place as one year or many years ago. In 2017, there were only 4-5 nests of White Storks in Albania, One nest was located at the top of a line tower while the rest in churches or worship places demonstrating thus that human disturbance is a limiting factor. This is in stark contrast with the 1950s’ when White Storks were in hundreds and very common in every urban area of the Western Lowland and in other wetland areas of Albania as Malik dhe Korça, Narta and Vlora, Tërbufi and Lushnja, Karavasta and Divjaka, Durrësi, Lezha, Velipoja etc. Their sharp reduction was first due to the disappearance of marshlands as suitable foraging habitats. This first reduction was amplified by the intensification of the agriculture, urbanization, industrial development, infrastructure and oil and gas extraction. Today they are threatened also from human disturbance, electrocution and collision with power lines. Could the number of White Storks increase again in Albania? Sure but only through measures of protection and management. PS. Anybody having information on White Storks in Albania, is welcomed to write us in our inbox! Thank you!
One conference, 2 presentations and 2 more contributions from AOS, many questions and congrats for the work undertaken, the strengthening of the capacities, the use of scientific data for nature conservation. The Adriatic Flyway 3 Conference, in Fruska Gora, Serbia, with representatives from the Balkan countries and international institutions, was closed yesterday. Many presentations stressed the importance of Albania for migratory birds, the need for further strengthening the capacities in the country, the positive cases of cooperation between the NGOs and state institutions and the urgency on the protection of birds and their critical habitats from degradation and loss. The latter seems to threaten today any natural area and particularly those in the coastal area.
Satelite telemetry enriches our knowledge on Birds in Albania – The migration of a Red Kite (Milvus milvus) in Albania In accordance with the satellite telemetry data, kindly provided to AOS by our Czech colleague David Horal, a migrating individual of Red Kite has already crossed through Albania during 11-13th of March 2018. It is a juvenile female, born in Niederosterreich (Austria) in në vitin 2015 and tagged there as a chick with the GPS-GSM logger AUKI06. This Red Kite has wintered for a third consecutive year in Central and Western Greece and it is now taking its way back most likely towards Austria. This Red Kite has entered from Greece in Albania on the 11th of March 2018, via Vjosa valley, has followed the direction of Osumi river through Ҫorovoda, Poliçani, Berati, Elbasani and Tirana for passing the night in Krasta of Kruja. At this place, the Red Kite stayed two overnights and on the 13th of March it has left for north, crossing over Vau i Dejës and Hani i Hotit for reaching Montenegro. Milvus milvus is a very rare bird in Albania but quite frequent in Western Europe. The majority of the populations occur in between Southern Sweden, Western Europe and Iberian peninsula (Spain, Portugal). Northern populations are migratory and winter mostly in South-Western Europe. A few birds, mostly juveniles, cross the Strait of Gibraltar to winter in Africa. The red Kite is a very rare visitor in the Balkan Peninsula while in Albania has been observed even les frequently in winter and during migration period. Although rarely reported in Albania, it seems that the satellite telemetry could now support our efforts to improve the knowledge on the Birds of Albania. Stay with AOS for other interesting news!
The first nesting species are already back from their wintering areas as spring has fully started in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park. The beach is full of passage visitors in the colors of White Wagtails (Motacilla alba), Little Ringed Plovers (Charadrius dubius), Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), Hoopoes (Upupa epops) and hundreds of Grey Plovers (Pluvialis squattarola) and other waders. Those coastal habitats of the National Park remain crucial for hundreds of migrating species that follow the Adriatic Flyway. And many more others are coming back. Visit Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, visit Spiaxho and enjoy migration period! Protect the Park , protect Nature!
Social platforms “Merr Jep” and “Njoftme Falas” promote illegality through helping to sell protected and endangered species and by openly breaking the law. HOW DOES IT FUNCTION? The citizen from Elbasani or Kukwsi illegally traps a Vulture or an Eagle. He tries to sell it illegally through social networks. The social network accepts the posting and promotes illegality. THE MESSAGE If anybody wants to sell an Eagle or a Vulture, if anybody wants to sell protected and endangered species, the person who breaks the law is not only the one who commits the illegal trapping but also the other one that accepts the posting and helps to promote the illegality. Unfortunately, there are several platforms that do promote illegality. We ask them to delete and never accept the illegal postings. Those platforms should join every good citizen efforts to protect wildlife and nature. We firmly believe that the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the State Inspectorate for Environment and Forests should promptly react to STOP THE ILLEGALITY on fauna that is today promoted openly by the above social platforms.
The Garganeys (Spatula querquedula), these little and beautiful ducks, have arrived since a few days. They are coming tired from the northern African tropic to breed in Europe. Meanwhile some of us, proud Albanians, make everything possible to exterminate them. They hunt them illegally with play backs and particularly in Important Bird Areas. With play backs that call the ducks all night long to massacre them in dozens in the early morning. As in those authentic pictures below that one "compatriot" is posting those days in Italian social networks where he, proudly, shows the undeserved trophies of illegal killing. By publicly showing their crime, they are putting shame on all of us!