The Aquatic Warbler is considered vulnerable and its’ overall breeding range has contracted significantly during recent decades. About 80% of the world population is concentrated to very locally distributed places of the right habitat in NW Ukraine, NE Poland and SW Belarus. Together with some friends I made a weeklong trip to Poland in search for this threatened Warbler. The preferred habitat is open, eutrophic marshes dominated by sedge up to 80 cm tall. Finding these well camouflaged birds is based heavily on knowing their song, but even that proved challenging in areas with large numbers of similarly sounding and looking Sedge Warblers. After two days of searching we found a place with at least five pairs in a well-protected area.
This North Atlantic archipelago is located 300 km north-northwest of the United Kingdom and about halfway to Iceland. It is famous for a beautiful landscape of small islands with a dramatic scenery of waterfalls into the ocean, steep cliffs and high mountains. The isolated piece of land in the Atlantic Ocean have also become a heaven for many seabirds. My visit in the beginning of May was timed with the start of the breeding season for Fulmars, Puffins and Gannets. And it was a great opportunity to observe the huge quantities of birds breeding in these waters. The constant noise, the sheer numbers of birds and the vibrant life of a bird cliff is an unforgettable experience.
The southernmost states of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina marks the beginning of the South American Pampas. An area of lowland vegetation dominated of a treeless grassy prairie in which numerous species of birds are specialized too. During the winter large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl from North America concentrate along the coasts. The culture of the pampas is dominated by farming. The gauchos are a national symbol in Argentina and Uruguay but is also a strong culture in the far south region of Brazil. The skilled farmers became greatly admired and renowned in legends, folklore and literature and an important part of the regional cultural tradition. The strong connection with the nature is embedded in the culture and has contributed to an interest in the wildlife even if these habitats also remain threatened by other forces.
Both the breeding bird population and the potential of migratory birds are unexplored in Azerbaijan compared to other places in the Middle East which made this trip very exciting. Besh Bermag is one of the most famous mountains in the Caucasus and a sacred place for regular visitation by pilgrims. My short stay in late autumn was a collaboration with the youth organization for Swedish Birdlife with the interest in the location as a bottleneck for birds. A bottleneck means that the migratory birds are forced to pass over the site as they are pushed in from both sides, the mountains to the west and the Caspian Sea to the east. The place has become famous in recent years for the large numbers of Little Bustards and larks during the autumn. Above that our group found the very rare Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti) which was only the 5th record for Azerbaijan at the time. But also, a Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), which was later published as the 1st record of the country in the scientific magazine Sandgrouse by OSME.
Spain holds one of Europes largest diversity of birds. The famous Doñana National Park in Andalusia with marshes, shallow streams, and sand dunes and the equivalent lowlands in the east at the Ebro Delta. The mountains and forests of Extremadura in the central of Spain to the Pyrenees on the border to France. The big national parks are sanctuaries for birds of prey, songbirds and waterfowl. European specialities such as the Dupont Lark, Spanish Imperial Eagle and Wallcreepers are sought-after species.
Costa Rica stands out in the region of Central America by its long-standing and stable democracy and for its highly educated workforce. Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as ecotourism and nature preservation. Costa Rica has very successfully incorporated its natural resource in a sustainable way. A coast to both the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east diversifies the nature and explains the nearly 1000 bird species observed in the country. The national bird and the icon for this ecotourism is the Resplendent Quetzal.
The architecture in Rome is world known. The colosseum with the roman remains, the Vatican church and the river Tiber shapes the city. It this city of culture small pockets of nature is inhabited by birds. Gulls patrol the riverside and find opportunities too get food from tourists. In the Italian south outside the coast of the Italian mainland lays the island Sicily, another Italian paradise. The summer here is shaped by a hot Mediterranean weather.
The East Coast of the United States is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean. From Maine in the north to Florida in the south. This gallery consists of a road trip in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The stretch consists of many national parks. The Cape Hatteras is a thin, broken strand of islands in North Carolina that arch out into the Atlantic Ocean away from the US mainland. For thousands of years these barrier islands have survived onslaughts of wind and sea. Long stretches of beach, sand dunes, marshes, and maritime forests create a unique environment where wind and waves shape the topography. The oceans outside is home to numerous rare seabirds and much of the beaches are protected for threatened shorebirds. Further south in Tennessee lays the Blue Ridge Mountains. These forests are home to many songbirds and animals as well as a beautiful scenery. The mountain range are noted for having a bluish color when seen from a distance.
Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean about 500km outside Africa’s east coast. It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira. Cape Verde has few natural resources. Only five of the ten main islands normally support significant agricultural production and over 90% of all food consumed in Cape Verde is imported. Despite that the country has seen significant economical growth and development. Tourism has been an important part in that. The small island of Sal, which means salt, is largely covered in sand. During my visit the beaches were slowly taken over by construction sites for new hotels. Despite that the local culture remained prominent, at least when I made my visit. The island of Santiago is an opposite ecologically, very green and with high mountains. Because of the islands isolated location it has a handful of endemic birds and unique wildlife.
Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site in Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The area is famous for the carbonate mineral left by the flowing water. Tourism is and has been a major industry in the area for thousands of years, due to the attraction of the thermal pools. As recently as the mid-20th century, hotels were built over the ruins of Hierapolis, causing considerable damage. An approach road was built from the valley over the terraces, and motor bikes were allowed to go up and down the slopes. When the area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished, and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools. Pamukkale is situated in Turkey's Inner Aegean region which is a place full of birdlife.
A trip of a lifetime and a first in a tropical rainforest with the camera. Together with Edson Endrigo me and my family flew a propeller plane in one hour over an untouched mass of green to land on what was simply a dirt road in the forest. Pousada Rio Roosevelt was one of the most recently built lodges in Amazonia at the time and offered opportunities to see newly discovered species to science in a very unexplored terrain.