Birders visit Karpaz
Taken from this week's issue
By GÜLDEREN ÖZTANSU
The sightings – only the third and fourth ever recorded in North Cyprus – occurred during the annual “seabird census”, which has been undertaken by the TRNC-based Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature (Kuşkor) and the South’s Birdlife Cyprus since 2008.
Kuşkor members counted Mediterranean shags, yellow-legged gulls and Audouin’s gulls, “which the region is famous for”, during their Karpaz trip, which coincided with May 8 World Migratory Bird Day.
According to Kuşkor, Karpaz is the only site in the whole of Cyprus where the threatened Audouin’s gull breeds.
“From 2008 to 2015 the population declined by nearly 40 per cent, with as few as four nests, prompting the Department for Animal Husbandry to ban rod fishing on the islands [at the tip of the Karpaz peninsula], which had been identified as a key threat to the birds,” Kuşkor’s Robin Snape explained to Cyprus Today.
“Since then, we have seen the numbers begin to increase, with an average of 15 nests in the last three years.
“As well as supporting research and conservation, the trip was a chance for Kuşkor members to socialise and spend time together bird watching during this, the most important time for birds.
“The most rewarding sighting was of two black-winged kites, which are the third and fourth record of this species in North Cyprus.
“The diversity and number of birds seen and the beauty of the Karpaz region underline the importance of the peninsula as a birdwatching hotspot.
“The potential for development of ecotourism to support the economy in this ecologically important area is very clear.”
Mr Snape added that Kuşkor arranges field trips for its members on the first Saturday of every month. For information follow their Facebook page or call 0542 881 3750 or 0533 866 2890.