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Eurasian Crag Martin Spotted Midwinter in Eastern Rhodopes

A Eurasian crag martin was spotted in the Eastern Rhodopes during the midwinter waterbird counting (15-16 January 2011).This is the first sighting in at least fifteen years. Until now only storks have been occasionally reported to winter in the area. The crag martin is the first migratory bird to return to Bulgarian lands at the end of February or in mid-March.

This year the waterbird counting in the Eastern Rhodopes area was part of a Youth Education Program within the New Thracian Gold project.

The team observed more than 5,000 waterbirds of over 30 species. Ten years ago, there were more than 10,000 birds of over 50 species, nearly double the number.

This year the research team did not see any killed or dead birds and did not encounter poachers. However, the situation is different elsewhere in the country, Hristo Hristov, NTG coordinator on wildlife and leader of counting in the Eastern Rhodopes says.

More than 200 people worked on over 100 routes within the 35th midwinter waterbird counting in Bulgaria. The international counting, organized by Wetlands International, took place in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

This international initiative was implemented in Bulgaria by six non-governmental organizations, the Bulgarian Ornithological Centre with the Institute of Zoology of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, representatives of national and natural parks and regional inspectorates of environment and water under the supervision of the Executive Environment Agency.

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