Portugal news (updated January 2012)
Domingos Leitão, from SPEA and Honeyguide, writes:
Improving bird habitat in Caia Dam IBA
SPEA, BirdLife partner in Portugal, monitors a network of 93 Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The Caia Dam IBA is one of the sites visited by the Honeyguide group. This site has a large population of waterbirds, including collared pratincoles (100 pairs), little terns (50 pairs, the only inland colony in Portugal), gull-billed terns (500 pairs), red-crested pochards and other duck, spoonbill and egret species.
This winter, SPEA is performing several small interventions on 10 islands used by terns and pratincoles to nest. These are channel deepening, from which material is added to nesting islands, scrub clearance and signing.
Below: island at Caia Dam IBA.
Domingos Leitão, January 2012
Atlas of Wintering and Migratory Birds of Portugal
SPEA, BirdLife partner in Portugal, has started a new bird atlas project - The Atlas of Wintering and Migratory Birds. The field work began in August 2011 and runs until February 2013. The first field season of the atlas ran from 1 August to 30 November, and was attended by over 260 volunteers and over 300 grid squares were distributed across the country. SPEA will continue to promote and appeal to ornithologists to participate in the project, which will certainly be a milestone in the history of Portuguese ornithology.
New project - reintroduction of ospreys in Portugal
A partnership of organisations led by Oporto University started this summer a new project for the reintroduction of ospreys as breeding bird in Portugal. The species is extinct has a breeder since 2002. This project aims to establish a breeding population in large dams in the region of Alentejo, using the hacking technique. Ten juvenile ospreys, supplied by Finnish and Swedish populations, were released this year in the Alqueva dam. A similar number of birds will be released in the next four years.
EDP (Energias de Portugal, a Portuguese energy company) is the official sponsor of the osprey reintroduction project. More information (in Portuguese): http://aguiapesqueira.org
Osprey photos courtesy of http://aguiapesqueira.org/
Happy birthday SPEA!
SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds), BirdLife Partner in Portugal, celebrates its 18th anniversary on 25th November. This is a young adult organisation with 3000 members, 50 staff, and a very important place in bird conservation scene. The organisation has achieved important goals in bird species and habitat conservation: examples include the endemic Azores bullfinch down-listed to Endangered, 30,000 hectares of new Special Protection Areas (SPAs) created for little bustard protection, leading experience in native laurel forest restoration, pioneering work in identification of marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Additionally, SPEA coordinates more than 400 volunteers in bird and IBA monitoring schemes and is helps to create local capacity in countries like Cape Verde and San Tomé and Principe. Long live SPEA! For more on SPEA in English, start here.
Free app puts Iberian IBAs on the map
A free app that aims to encourage sustainable tourism in the Important Bird Areas of Spain and Portugal is available for users of Apple’s iPhones and iPads. The app, Iberian Birds, will enable users to find the nearest IBA, based on their geo-location (GPS) data, and learn what birds are to be found there. Iberian Birds has been funded by the Iberaves project, and is the fruit of collaboration between BirdLife International, SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) and SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal). More about this application here.
Domingos Leitão, November 2011