Silvia and I have finally come to the end of our 8 weeks surveying and ringing birds in Romania on behalf of Operation Wallacea and Fundatia Adept. Although we are only in the third year of a five year pilot project, it's easy to see why we are out here gathering data on what birds (and other wildlife) are present in this beautiful part of the world before industrialisation and intensive farming come in and start to destroy very important habitats!
Subsidies are already being offered to farmers who either cut their grass by hand either before 1st July to benefit Lesser Grey Shrike and Red-footed Falcon, or to cut it after 31st July to benefit Corncrake (there are various others subsidies available too) which is great news. Unfortunately these subsidies have already been cut, and it's only the second year they've been available. Lets hope with our findings that this cut is cancelled, otherwise there will be no incentive to keep traditional farming methods in practice and before too long Romania will follow the rest of Europe and lose so much of it's incredible wildlife!!
On a happier note we were able to trap and ring some more amazing birds again this year. It's surprising what little birds are hiding away in the middle of the scrub surrounding the massive hay meadows. Pictured below are a few of the highlights from the last four weeks.
With all these small birds around, birds of prey were never too far away. Although a Sparrowhawk was seen 'bouncing' out of one of the nets, catching this fine adult Hobby seems to more than make up for it. Unsurprisingly we also caught 99 Swallows this morning as well.
Silvia releasing the hobby.
So after 8 long and hot weeks all of the small catches made each day have combined to make a pretty impressive catch. Short term, most of these species should be pretty safe here, I hope the same can be said for the long term future as well!!
As enjoyable as this all was, I (and Silvia I think) can't wait to get back to the UK to continue in the Mid Wales Ringers' long term study in to the use of welsh hill farms as feeding grounds for nocturnal feeding waders. Bring on the wet and windy weather!