birding-aus Earthwatch project old world

Subject: birding-aus Earthwatch project old world
From: Monique Turner <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 12:11:47 +1000
>From the field:

Sharon Pincott, an Earthwatch volunteer, spent Christmas with Dr Gabor
Lovei's Old World Songbirds project in Tsavo West National Park in Kenya.
This was Sharon's second project.  The following is an excerpt from an
article Sharon wrote for Earthwatch's Australian Bulletin March 1999.

"There was birdlife everywhere...immediately we went to work.  Mist nets
needed to be put up berfore sundown.  Tonight the bird netting, ringing,
recording and releasing would begin.  Mist often engulfs Ngulia Lodge at
this time of the year.  The mist, together with the lights of the lodge,
confuses migrating birds, attracting them to the nets below.  It is
considered one of the bird wonders of the world.

Being woken up after only a couple hours sleep, to extract and release
birds, is not everyone's idea of a good time!  The words "this cannot be
healthy" were heard to be muttered on more than one occasion!  There were
however a lot of laughs in these wee small hours of the morning when
"normal" people were tucked up in bed fast asleep.

It was with some trepidation that I ringed my first - and only - bird.  I
feared damaging its fragile legs.  I was hesitant too when measuring its
delicate wing.  My level of confidence would no doubt have increased with
practice, as it did when extracting  hundreds of birds from the nets, but I
chose for now to leave the ringing to the experts.

Christmas in Africa was a fine affair...We were up by 5.30am every day to
prepare for the dawn netting.  More Afrotropical species, as opposed to
Palaearctic migrants (primarily from Asia and Europe) were caught during
the morning period.  Even on Christmas Day, we worked until 11am.  We were
told no rest for the wicked!

Almost 8,000 birds were studied and ringed during our 12 day stay at
Ngulia.  The results will be used to guide and justify the importance of a
chain of wetland reserves to provide safe passage for such migratory birds
as warblers and whitethroats."

There are teams going on this project July through to August and October
through to December.  The cost of the project is $A1,065 (this does not
include airfare) The maximum number of people on any of the project teams
is five.

All participants on Earthwatch projects must be a member of Earthwatch.

If you would like any further information please contact me via e-mail or
phone (03)9682 6828.

Earthwatch Australia
126 Bank St
South Melbourne VIC 3205

Telephone : (03) 9682 6828  Fax :  (03) 9686 3652

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