Lebanon Bird Camp, autumn 2019 – some news from the field
After the successful weekend Bird Camps in Lebanon in October 2018 and April 2019 we decided to scale up the project to a 25 day long raptor count. Inspired by such counts at Batumi, Besh Barmag and Sarimazi we decided on two main objectives; identify and count as many raptors as possible migrating along the western slopes of Mount Lebanon and in the process train, inspire and involve local youth and volunteers. You can read more about this year’s autumn bird camp here
This short video introduces this autumn’s bird camp:
The count started on the 10th September at a newly constructed watch point above the town of Hammana and will continue until the 3rd October. After a rather quiet first week (day counts of only around 100 raptors) the daily counts have been steadily increasing. This year is very much a trial year for the raptor counts and we knew we would miss the peak time for species such as Honey Buzzards and White Storks. However, so far we have had a good range of species with Levant Sparrowhawk being the most common bird recorded (over 10,000 individuals). Lesser Spotted Eagle has been the most common large eagle recorded with just over 1700 individuals so far. The most common non-raptor species has been the European Bee-eater with just ov er 4000 counted so far.
The site has also delivered one mega rarity so far; a couple of Crested Honey Buzzards have been recorded including a fabulous male which passed overhead at noon on September 14 (photo by Valentin Moser). We think these two sightings will be the 4th and 5th records for Lebanon!
Local birdwatchers, school youth, the town Mayor and responsible/legal hunters have all visited the site and marvelled at the raptors cruising by in front of us. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds for more updates from the field.
You can check out the daily sightings via Trektellen
Tomas Axén Haraldsson
OSME Youth Development Officer