The Bird Camp Lebanon 2018

The Bird Camp Lebanon 2-4 October 2018 has been wrapped up and considering its brief planning (since mid-June 2018) and execution (2.5 days) it was successful. The program, logistics, and financing went even better than planned and the draft ideas for 2019 and beyond are very encouraging.

See also the trip report which is being posted and spread to various web sites including the OSME trip report section.

Evening/midnight Monday 1 October – the arrival of Swedish group (three participants and the initiative holder) in the village and Hima* of Ras al-Matn, 30km northeast of Beirut in the Mount Lebanon. Three nights in private housing for the Swedish group.

2 October – morning at the observation point above the Beirut River Valley. Bird ringing trial with two nets. Present are local key persons from the community, SPNL members and MESD** members. Visit the public school, presentation and mingle. Lunch with vice-Mayor of the municipality and one of the responsible hunters in the area. Afternoon birding visit to Mount Lebanon ridge at 1500m near Falugha. Social dinner.

3 October – morning at the observation point, field visits by 25 students from the public school to see nets and birds in hand as well as raptor migration and mingle. Visit to private school, presentation. Lunch with local key persons. Massive eagle migration from the lunch table (2.750 Lesser Spotted Eagles in 30min!!), very striking and exemplary. Afternoon visit to Mayors office of neighboring municipality Kfar Salwyn. Late afternoon birding up on the ridge above Kfar Salwyn. Social dinner.

4 October – Swedish group birding along the road towards Beirut, at the airport by 12 noon and departure for Sweden in the afternoon. In Sweden by 10pm.

Plans for the future

This trip turned more into a promotional/inspirational, networking and relation-creating event than an actual youth camp. Considering our ambitions of building something longterm and sustainable it was time well used in the long perspective.

Plans and thoughts for 2019 and beyond include:

  • More of Bird Camps in Ras al-Matn and other municipalities during bird migration periods in 2019 and onwards
  • Components in future camps: bird migration studies, sustainable hunting promotion, nature/bird guide training, bird ringing training (a separate week with chosen participants?)
  • Collaborate closer with groups like Lebanese Bird Conservation Coalition (LBCC) and Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
  • Youth exchange: Lebanese youth with an interest in birds and nature to visit Sweden (Falsterbo and Ottenby Bird Observatories) as exchange students for a week in 2019
  • Tie the Bird Camp concept to the International Bird Observatory Conference (IBOC) to facilitate more youth exchange, international possibilities for youth and bird conservation collaboration

Tomas Axén Haraldsson, initiative holder of the Bird Camp concept

*Hima = from the Arabic word for ”protect”, a traditional method for community-based nature conservation and nature utilization, now revived and run by SPNL in Lebanon.

** MESD = al-Matn organization for Environment and Sustainable Development, a local community group.

“Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation”: Birdlife Sweden and SPNL Celebrating WMBD in Hima Ras El-Maten

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