Lebanon is situated straight in the eastern Mediterranean flyway and sees the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of raptors, storks and other soaring birds. Very few studies have been done to document this and no updated counts or figures exist. Pressing is also the need to train local conservationists and birdwatchers and to spread awareness for reducing the widespread illegal bird hunting. This is pioneering bird conservation work and you can be a part of starting it up!

Mount Lebanon landscape. ©Tomas Axén Haraldsson

Bird Camps done in October 2018 and April 2019 indicates a committed and active local community in these two municipalities, Ras al-Matn and Hammana, up in the Mount Lebanon range northeast of Beirut. Read trip reports at

Now we need YOU for a period of one week (or more) to help out with one or both objectives of this project;

  • identify and count migrating raptors and storks during full-day monitoring
  • train local participants in raptor field identification

You need to be an experienced and skilled birdwatcher with previous knowledge in migration counts, raptor watching at long distances and be able to count during a whole day. You also need to be flexible and patient with shifting plans and sometimes confusing circumstances in this all-new project.

Species include    thousands of Lesser Spotted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawks, Honey Buzzards and White Storks. Smaller number of Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Montagues Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Hobby, Red-footed Falcon, Peregrine, Steppe Eagle, Osprey and Black Stork.

Also migrants like Bee-eater, Roller, Turtle Dove, Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole and Ortolan Bunting.

Period              8 – 25 September 2019, possibly longer

Where              viewing points at Hammana and Ras al-Matn, Mount Lebanon

Aims                * improved knowledge of raptor migration along Mount Lebanon * trained local conservationists and students * community-based project

Participants    interested local volunteers from Homat al-Hima, students and birdwatchers

Accommodation           local village homestay, shared rooms, kitchen. 25 USD/person/night.

Meals                             breakfast and lunch included, you cover your own dinner

Local transports           included

Flights                           at your own arrangement, the site is 45min from Beirut airport. Return flights from Europe can be had at roughly 300 USD.

Costs                             you cover flights, accommodation, dinner and personal expenses. Project covers breakfast, lunch and local transport.

Questions and signing up          tomasharaldsson(a)

This pilot raptor count is a cooperation between Society for Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), BirdLife Sweden and Ornithological Society of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia (OSME).

Initiative holder and project coordinator is Tomas Axén Haraldsson, Youth Development Officer at OSME.

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