The “Garden of Eden” in Iraq now internationally protected as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention (Switzerland, 29 September 2015)

OSME has received the welcome news that the Government of Iraq has recently designated the Central Marshes and the Hammar Marsh in the southern part of the country as Wetlands of International Importance (‘Ramsar Sites’) under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These two marshes, together with the existing Hawizeh Marsh Ramsar Site, form the last remnants of the once extensive, lush and richly diverse Mesopotamian Marshlands in southern Iraq.

Kuwait becomes 169th signatory the Ramsar Convention

OSME has received news regarding the State of Kuwait becoming the 169th Contracting Party of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (on 5 September, 2015).  On the occasion of accession to the Ramsar Convention, and in fulfilment of a key obligation of all Parties, Kuwait announced the designation of the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Reserve onto the List of Wetlands of International . . .

Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Arabia: 2015 records

Observers in the Arabian Peninsula are asked to send in their personal observations of breeding species for 2015 when it is convenient, e.g. after a visit or at the end of the local breeding season. It is impossible for me to find everything published in blogs and the various world public bird databases, so those observers who put their records on such media are also asked to send their records direct to ABBA. I will be happy to send observers a pack containing the 'instructions for contributors' and the report forms for ABBA, either in hard copy of or as PDF/MSWord doc files. ABBA uses a half degree grid square so a map of the ABBA squares, a list of breeding species and the ABBA breeding evidence code will all be supplied.

Please note that although the project has been going for many years databases like ABBA cannot have too many records, even of common widespread species in well watched places. This is particularly important in the era of climate change as we start to notice habitats, populations and distributions change, perhaps as a result of this.  So all records will be welcomed. 

Help wanted for raptor surveys in Turkey




Location:                       Adana Province, Turkey

Duration:                       15 August  - 15 October 2015

Job Type:                       Volunteer

Application Deadline:      Open until filled


Volunteers needed to find remaining endangered yellow-breasted buntings in Mongolia

Populations of Yellow-breasted Bunting, Emberiza aureola, are rapidly declining across their range and have recently been classified as endangered by IUCN. They were common in the northern Palearctic from Finland and Belarus, eastwards to northeast Asia. Mainly due to excessive hunting in China and several other reasons, thespecies which once was a common bird has declined across its range and become quite rare. However, ecological aspects of the decline remain unclear.

It is vital to understand breeding ecology and migratory behaviour of this species to help identifying conservation actions in future. During the breeding season (June) in 2015, we want to find and identify locations suitable for deploying geo-locators next year and establishing a long-term population study and monitoring for this species.