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OSME Summer Meeting 6 July 2013

Geoff Welch, handing over to new Chairman, Rob Sheldon

This year’s Summer Meeting, themed around monitoring bird populations in the OSME region, was again held at the BTO headquarters in Thetford and was attended by 55 members and guests. Paul Stancliffe from the BTO opened the day by providing a brief update on the ongoing satellite tracking study of Common Cuckoos Cuculus canorus. Paul talked at last year’s meeting and within a matter of days the first ever . . .

The Omani Owl – a completely new owl species is discovered in the OSME region

A completely new species of owl to science has been discovered in a remote mountain range in Oman. The bird is being named the Omani Owl, as a tribute to Oman and its people, and details of its discovery are being published today in Dutch Birding. The owl was first noticed in March 2013 when it called while researchers were making sound recordings of another species. Sound-recordist and author Magnus Robb heard a call so unlike anything he knew that adrenalin immediately started to rush through his veins.

Certificate of Recognition

Certificate of Recognition

While many of the problems facing birds and the environment in the OSME region will only be solved by the work of governments and NGOs, a great many individuals are selflessly devoting much of their time, energy and resources to ‘make a difference’ at a local level. OSME feels strongly that such commitment should be recognised and therefore we are launching an annual Certificate of Recognition award which includes £200 worth of books from the Natural History Book Service (NHBS).

We are delighted to announce that the first recipient is Ahmad Aidek from Syria for the production of A Guide to the Biodiversity of Deir ez-Zor Area which was published in 2010 – see plates 1, 2

Conservation and Research Fund news

White-headed Duck

Due to personal reasons, Christine Booth has regrettably decided to stand down as Chair of the CRF sub-committee. OSME would like to take this opportunity to thank her for all of the work she did to ‘professionalise’ the operation of the CRF. A replacement chair will be appointed shortly. On a more positive note, Maxim Koshkin has now joined the sub-committee and will be advising on applications to the fund from a Central Asian perspective. OSME is also pleased to announce that the ‘average’ level of grant

UNDP/BirdLife International Migratory Soaring Birds project website

The Migratory Soaring Birds project, covering 11 countries along the Rift Valley/Red Sea flyway, one of the most important flyways in the world, aims to mainstream birds’ conservation into the strategies, management and activities of the Agriculture, Energy, Hunting, Tourism and Waste Management sectors in each country. This is being achieved through building strategic partnerships with key sector stakeholders

Additional support for White-headed Duck conservation in Kazakhstan

To supplement the money raised by the 2012 Raffle, OSME is auctioning an original watercolour painting of White-headed Duck by renowned wildlife artist, Martin Woodcock. Bids in excess of £350 are invited and full details are provided on the linked pdf. This is a unique opportunity to help conservation of one of the region’s globally threatened birds and obtain an outstanding piece of artwork.

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