{An update from Chris Bowden on our northern bald ibis work]

Our trusted fieldworker in Ethiopian highlands, Yilma Abebe, with some RSPB support, managed to spend three days at the site where the relict Syrian northern bald ibis mainly overwintered - and reported this week that three adults were seen, which is good news, given that we were fearing they had finally disappeared from the east.

The group included the female Zenobia who had previously been paired to Odeinat (who disappeared over a year ago in Saudi Arabia). Interestingly, she was accompanied by an un-ringed adult, so perhaps there’s a faint hope that they are indeed a pair, and might make it back to breed in Syria?

There was also one other lone bird sighted in the area. We await further details of Yilma’s visit, but it’s good to know there is still a faint hope for the population. As you may know, only a single adult was seen back at the Syrian breeding site last spring, and despite the problems in the country, the field team there somehow managed to continue some field checks. Our thoughts are certainly with them and their families.

 Bald ibis at Ethiopian wintering site (Gianluca Serra)

For earlier background, see the RSPB's web-pages (click here).