Enjoying Iran’s Wildlife

Guest blog by Fardin Naziri

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla

I was born in countryside of Talesh county, at the edge of the Hyrcanian forests in the south-west of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea was just one kilometer from our house and it just took us one hour to reach the Alborz Mountains from there. Different species of birds were always in around our house and gardens and other birds arrived on migration during the year. The diversity of the species, their colours and times of migration were of great interest to me from the beginning of my childhood. Now, I know, the name of the birds and I know that female and male of Blackbird are not two species! Or I know that those raptors are Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Shikra and Barbary falcon. From the childhood, I was not interesting in hunting them but I was looking carefully at the birds and its behavior when they wanted to hunt other birds in around our yard or was watching them for hours while they were flying in the sky. I moved to Tehran after serving my military service, but I was always thinking of my home town, its natural habitats and the wild life.

The first spark in my mind started when I saw a book about the birds and bought it. It was called ‘Birds of Iran”.  I began to look into in and tried to find the birds that I saw in my county when I was a younger.

The variety of species in the book made me astonished. So I was eager to know more about them. So, I bought binoculars and searched for birds especially in the forests and lakes on every holiday in Talesh. I did my best to learn the names of different species more and more. I made it by the help of my friends and all the effort I dedicated to my wonderful hobby.

Finally, I bought a camera and went to different places such as wetlands, mountains and deserts around Tehran province, as well as all the protected areas. I saw the Sociable Lapwing in Bujaqh National Park for the first time, Dalmatian Pelican in Jukandan wetland and huge flocks of cormorants, herons and egrets in Estil pond. I photographed Dusky Warbler for first time in Iran and reported it with my friends as 550th bird seen in Iran. My friends helped me to learn more and more. I also have other few valuable records for my province, such as the Trumpeter Finch (recorded after about 40 years for second time) and Desert and Barred Warbler.

We often held bird-watching tours to familiarize people with birds and their natural habitats. Here, we organized a bird tour with a small number of people in a small coastal wetland, near the Caspian Sea called Jukandan. In these visits, we try not to create any stress for the birds we are watching..

Now, I am an active member of a NGO in my county, Shaqhayeqh haye Hyrcani, where I try to help with conservation and protection projects for our natural ecosystems. Also, I am active in taking birdwatching and photography tours for members of our NGO.

Two years ago, the NGO invited me to hold two exhibitions of my bird photographs and I received very good feedback from the local governors and people of the region who were particularly interested in conservation.

In May 2018, we held a photo exhibition of birds and their natural habitats in Rezvan Shahr City. Local Government Officials and many people came to see it. We strive to promote an interest in birds, habitats and conservation to Local Government Officials especially in these exhibitions. I plan to hold such exhibition in other counties in our province.

It interested me they were all surprised when I told them that the birds in the photos are all from our county and province, even around our houses. They were even more eager when I explained about their behaviour, migration and why they moult their feathers. After these two exhibitions, I realized that I should focus more of my time on encouraging people to take an interest in wildlife and to help with training in the field, on which I am now spending my time with the help of my new birdwatching friends.

 This is me with Kuroush, my nephew. He usually comes with me in the field. I hope that he will be an active birdwatcher and a conservationist in future. I often take the children of my family to watch nature and lend them my binoculars, when I see they are becoming interested. 

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