Our team of skilled local volunteer recorders is once again forming the backbone of our bird monitoring effort for 2016. Added to this on-island team, visiting full-time volunteers are once again making an invaluable input to our 2016 programmes for common breeding birds, nocturnal species, Rollers and forest birds. These dedicated and capable visitors – four in total for various stints this spring and summer – are also putting in the hours keeping tabs on key species at the Akrotiri (Phassouri) Marsh. This provides vital data for the ongoing Darwin funded project giving some much needed attention to this precious wetland (visit the project website for more details and updates).
The first of our visiting full-time volunteers was Shannon O’Grady, who arrived in early March, who took to the task with relish, despite having to play a bit of catch-up on the local bird fauna. Shannon was joined by Anders Gray in early April and the two formed an effective survey team, covering the length and breadth of the island, till Shannon completed his visit in early May. Anders had also volunteered during 2015, and so was able to take the lead, providing in-the-field guidance for first Shannon and then our third 2016 volunteer, Nathan Wilkie, who arrived in early May. Anders completed his work with us in mid-May, leaving Nathan ‘solo’ for a couple of weeks, till the arrival of Ellie Ellwood on 1 June.
A big thank-you goes out from BirdLife Cyprus to Anders, Shannon, Nathan and Ellie. We like to think of the visiting volunteer system as a great synergy: a great experience for the visiting volunteers and a great volume of field data for us! Funding for our visiting volunteers (covering basic upkeep only) for 2016 came through a number of projects BirdLife Cyprus is involved in, but is, sadly, by no means guaranteed for 2017.