Sep 292017
 
POLL: Should the Ortolan Bunting poaching ban be strictly enforced in France?

The French Ministry of Ecology, Nicolas Hulot has committed to ending the large-scale trapping of Ortolan Bunting, which takes place to meet demand for a cruel dish where the songbird is blinded, plumpened and drowned in brandy. It’s a practice that has driven population declines of up to 84% in Europe since 1980. Ortolan is […]

Jul 112017
 
Mongolia - 18th May (Day 11) - Barig Mountain to Sangiin Dalai Lake

We were up at 05:15 to the sound of screaming Saker Falcon, packed our bags and after a quick coffee headed back up Barig Mountain at 06:00 for a last try for Hodgson’s Bush-chat. After climbing the steep grassy and rock strewn slopes of the mountains in the vehicles we parked at the summit and […]

Jul 172016
 
POLL: Should France enforce the law protecting the Ortolan Bunting?

The French population of the Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana) has declined by 50-75% in the last 30 years. This, despite hunting of the species being forbidden by law since 1979. It was even made a protected species in 1999. However, each year, about 30.000 Ortolan Buntings are illegally trapped and killed during the autumn migration […]

Oct 082015
 
Early morning at Ghaftayn

On Wednesday morning, I got up early at Ghaftayn rest house to see what passage there had been over-night. These desert stops have highly variable windfalls of migrants during the passage seasons. One morning can be heaving while another can have virtually nothing. The same goes for the rarity of the birds. This was only […]

Oct 052015
 
Dowkah delivers again

My Eid trip lasted from Tuesday afternoon until Saturday evening. It involved 3500 kilometres of travel and took me to several birding locations. This and the next four blogs will chronicle the results.I headed north out of Salalah on Tuesday and reached one of my favourite birding locations, Dowkah desert farm, with time to bird […]

May 252015
 
A third of Europe’s birds under threat, says most comprehensive study yet

One in three European birds is endangered, according to a leaked version of the most comprehensive study of Europe’s wildlife and natural habitats ever produced. The EU State of Nature report, seen by the Guardian, paints a picture of dramatic decline among once common avian species such as the skylark and turtle dove mainly as […]

Oct 062014
 
France: LPO takes direct action to liberate poached Ortolans

Every year in France, thousands of Ortolan Buntings are poached, mutilated and killed in breach of EU and national laws. On Thursday 4 September, the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO, BirdLife in France) members went on the offensive, to liberate captured birds and make formal accusations against poachers to the French authorities. The […]

Sep 202013
 
French poachers continue the mass slaughter of Ortolan Buntings

Even by French gastronomic standards the method of preparing the prized – and increasingly rare – ortolan bunting for the table seems somewhat extreme. Vaunted for its delicate flesh and bones, the sparrow-sized bird is eaten whole after being drowned in armagnac. It is not just a matter of questionable taste, however. While eating ortolan […]