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OSME supports fieldworkers in Armenia

…they have awarded a grant of $700 to work at the Armash Fish Farm in Armenia.

OSME [Ornithological Society of the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia] have awarded a grant of $700 from its Conservation and Research Fund to support vital work at the Armash Fish Farm in Armenia. Vasil Ananian, the recipient of the award will coordinate monthly bird counts at the Fish Farm, focusing on globally threatened species using the area such as Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris and White-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala and will identify those habitats which are of greatest importance to birds. One of the most important aspects of the project is to train local enthusiasts and amateurs in the basics of bird identification and encourage them to assist during the survey.Keith Betton, Chairman of OSME says, OSME wants to advance the study of birdlife throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, particularly focusing on either countries or species for which we have little information. This project is a good example of how we can help fieldworkers by subsidising their local costs.Armash Fishponds are situated in Araks river valley. They were created during the late 1960`s and consist of 25 ponds of 30-100 ha with total water surface area of 1700 ha, as well as an extensive system of channels. Armash fish farm was classified in the inventory of Important Bird Area`s in Armenia. Almost 200 species of birds have been recorded at Armash Fish ponds with almost 80 species regularly breeding at the site. Almost 130 species use the fishponds during passage, and some 65 species regularly wintering here. A regionally threatened breeding species using Armash is Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, and one species restricted wholly or largely to the Middle East - Menetries` Warbler Sylvia mystacea. Globally threatened species using the site other than for breeding are Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus, Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla and Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, of regionally threatened is Bittern Botaurus stellarisVasil Y Ananian graduated as a biologist from Yerevan State University (1994). During 1994 - 1996 he was employed as a field and museum researcher for A Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia (1997) and Handbook of the Birds of Armenia (1999). Accomplished in Environmental Education at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Pennsylvania, USA (1999). He is, of course, author of Fatbirder`s Armenia page!

4th July 2014