Raptor Camp 2014: On A Roller

September 19, 2014 8:53 pm

This is my first visit to Maltaand as a Raptor Camp virgin, I didn’t know what to expect.  The problem of illegal hunting in Malta is well documented but it is not till you get here that you realize how obvious, rife and deep rooted the problem really is.
The first few days have been intense but a lot of fun. I have seen birds I never thought I would see, let alone get so close to; unfortunately I have also seen hunters and heard several gunshots. This is conservation work on the frontline and well done to BirdLife for all their good work.

There are activities organized by BirdLife if you have the energy in your spare time. One such visit was to the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija. Up on our arrival, we were informed by Tom that a European Roller was perched on a tree very close to a pond where we spotted the unmistakable elegant neck of a purple Heron. The European Roller proceeded to fly in front of our hide to give us exquisite views of the contrast between blue winged-coverts and blackish remiges.

Over the next hour, we witnessed Little Egrets, Hoopoes, Ibises, Northern Shoveler and Mallards. An enviable list of birds spotted in just over an hour in a tranquil nature reserve.

We were all excited and still high on our sightings as we headed back for our debrief meeting. Now off to get some sleep before the night shift…

Words By Rohit Radhwani.
Photos by Tim Micallef, Aron Tanti and John Aldridge.