text and photos by Mirjan Topi

Albania has joined the ÉLVONAL project this year through our local partner, the Centre “Bird of Albania”. Therefore, from 6th to 10th of April we organized the first ÉLVONAL training camp in Albania. On the first day, we had an online meeting with relevant presentations from Prof. Tamas Szekely, Dr. Vojtech Kubelka and Fanni Takacs.

The training was taking place in the area of the Protected Landscape Vjose-Narte, situated in south-western Albania. Vjose-Narte is one of the most important wetlands not only for Albania but in the whole Adriatic. The area is particularly known for breeding of waders such as the Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Little-Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius), Stone Curlew (Buhrinus buhrinus) and Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola).

During the next days field training took place lead by Vladimir Mladenov and assisted by Ivaylo Dimchev and Mirjan Topi. Along the training, students learned, how to find nests of waders, how to measure eggs, and how to define the exact age of the egg. Furthermore, students learned how to catch birds on the nest with spring traps, ring them, also we tested a large trap for catching groups of waders. In addition, students learned and practiced how to carry out courtship behaviour observations. In this training camp we lived the historical moment for Albania, that is related to the catching and ringing of the Kentish Plover in the country and possibly the first wader.

The trainees came from the several NGOs, Universities and Protected Areas Authorities such as: Center Birds of Albania, Center for the Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania, Center Flag Pine, Center for the Bird Ringing in Albania, University of Vlora, University of Tirana and Regional Agency of Protected Areas of Vlora.

The collection of samples for the ÉLVONAL Project will continue along this breeding season in the site.