The smaller the neighbour the bigger the bite.
How many neighbours have I got?
Our local patch of forest and shrubs is also home to Muscicapa striata. According to the IUCN the species is threatened by biocide-induced reductions or contamination of insect populations, removal of old trees and general habitat deterioration.
Pretty much every weekend, husband and I go plogging in our neighbouring forest. Sometimes students are tagging along, sometimes members of the public help. We once even had a soldier from the close-by military compound giving us a bin bag and saying thank you.
This is actually what most people do – watching what we do and then saying thanks. So, somehow information about us and our hobby found its way all up to the townhall where at the beginning of April we met Oran’s mayor and some notables, who are also fighting against illegal cutting down of trees.
The mayor expressed how grateful he and the city of Oran were for our contribution to keep this little patch of green clean and our school’s managing director translated. We were then presented with a certificate of appreciation and a handmade tile, which was beautiful. Tile-making is a local tradition.
From the townhall we went to a near-by privately run museum about the fight for independence from France. There was a connection to our local forest too, because it had been a venue for executions of resistance fighters. There are apparently still trees which have bullets lodged in them.
It was a lovely morning and a great surprise. We’re both very happy that litter-picking is such an appreciated pastime and would be even happier if it wasn’t necessary. However, things being the way they are, in the afternoon we went for a plog and we’ll keep on doing so.
This male Phoenicurus phoenicurus was in the pine trees in the forest near our home. According to the IUCN, this species may be subject to habitat degradation from pollution effects on forests in Europe.
This female Sylvia atricapilla has been a recent visitor to our garden. I hope she can find a male to produce some offspring. The species on the whole is apparently doing fine but because the male’s song is so beautiful they are sometimes trapped. They are also hunted around the Mediterranean.
Yesterday was the first time I actually managed to take a photo of an Alectoris barbara. They roam the scrubland close to where I live.
Although classified as least concern, numbers of this species are decreasing. Threats include hunting, pesticides and outbreaks of fire.
These two Ammomanes deserti were intensely communicating with each other while I observered them last December in the Sahara near Tamanrasset. The species is classified as least concern on the Red List and apparently under no particular threat. But then, the birds rely on insects during the breeding season, so they’ll soon all be gone.
Thank you to the good people on birdforum.net for their help with the ID.