An Azerbaijan interlude with young naturalists

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Birders in action

During 25-30 October 2015  the youth committee of BirdLife Sweden visited Azerbaijan to study bird migration at Besh Barmag but also to meet with local young naturalists and initiate further co-operation. The trip was a great success   – we counted a quarter of a million migrating birds of 150 species in just three field days, as well as visiting a  national park visit and having dinner with Nature Friends  Azerbaijan.

Now we take the next step  - planning another field camp at Besh Bermag for late September 2016 with more participants, sponsors and  greater ambitions.

Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax 

Besh Barmag is a spectacular bird migration ”bottle-neck”, the narrowest  strip of steppe between the foothills of the Greater Caucasus and the Caspian Sea and situated some 90km north of  the capital Baku. It has been studied regularly over the last ten years by German ornithologists as well as by a steadily growing number of independent birders and birding groups. It is very accessible, has wonderful scenery, good camping sites and, most importantly, you have a spectacle of bird migration that can be easily enjoyed by all.

What we hope to build is something along the lines of other field work being undertaken in  the OSME region (at Batumi for example), intertwining the  joy of bird watching with young people getting together and where the local community and nature conservation are the benefactors.

Caspian Stonechat Saxicola (maurus) hemprichii 

Bird research meets eco tourism and international development! With simultaneously threats against birds and nature as well as xenophobia and tensions all on the rise in the world, engagements like this are urgently needed.

We have a steadily widening network of supporters including national BirdLife partners, embassies, travel agencies and youth groups and we  are glad to welcome OSME among these friends of conservation.

Those interested can join our Facebook group Conservation Volunteers Network and more about this initiative can also be read at  www.tomasharaldsson.se. You can also learn more about birding in Azerbaijan at:  www.birdingaze.blogspot.se and see also the trip reports on  the OSME website.

 Tomas Axén Haraldsson

​All photographs above by Emil Lundahl