The training workshop in Moldova: the start of a promising Atlas season

Participants of the workshop (photo by Nadejda Grosu)

Participants of the workshop (photo by Nadejda Grosu)

During the EBBA2 training in Moldova, the participants had a chance to discuss the methodology for EBBA2 and later conduct line-transects and used atlas codes in the field. The number of participants in the country is rather small, but their enthusiasm and field skills will be an important contribution to provide data from Moldova to the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2.

 

April was a busy month for EBBA2 workshops! Thanks to the financial support from MAVA foundation, training workshops were organized in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also Moldova. The workshop in Moldova was a great opportunity for explaining and discussing methods for EBBA2, but also for the field training and, finally, to motivate all contributors for such a big project!

 

The training was organized by the Moldova Society for Birds and Nature Protection, established in early March, this year, by a group of enthusiastic ornithologists. The training activity took place on the 23th–24th of April, consisting of a theoretical part on Saturday (23th) in Chisinau, and a field exercise on Sunday (24th) in the Orheiul Vechi region.

On Saturday participants met in Chisinau for discussion on EBBA2 methodology and Moldova contribution to the project (photo by Manolo Garcia)

On Saturday participants met in Chisinau for discussion on EBBA2 methodology and Moldovan contribution to the project (photo by Manolo Garcia)

 

On Saturday, the training brought together 10 participants willing to take part in this ambitious programme. The majority of them were ornithologists working for the Institute of Zoology (Department of Ornithology), and the rest of the participants were members of the Society for Birds and Nature Protection as well as other birdwatchers volunteering in this new challenge for Moldova. They were joined by a member from the EBBA2 coordination team and two other foreign experts, all from the Catalan Ornithological Institute (ICO).

 

After an introduction to the EBBA2 objectives, timeline and expected results, Vitalie Ajder (president of the Society for Birds and Nature Protection) and Larisa Bogdea (EBBA2 National Coordinator for Moldova) discussed Moldova’s contribution to the EBBA2 since 2013 onwards and the Atlas experience in their country. However, the main topic at the training was related to the EBBA2 methodology: clarifications on the EBBA2 methodologies and opportunities for customizing the methodology for a possible national atlas. There were also questions about data collection and data reporting, and also about managing problematic areas which have some uncovered squares (eg. Transnistria region).

 

The training provided a very good opportunity for the participants to address all the possible questions about the Atlas and to feel themselves as a part of this complex project. For the Republic of Moldova’s coordination team this was also a perfect occasion to debate on technical issues regarding data management and exploring best ways for providing qualitative data to the European coordination team.

Field training was done in the impressive Orheiul Vechi (photo by Manolo Garcia)

Field training was done in the impressive Orheiul Vechi (photo by Manolo Garcia)

 

On Sunday, three more volunteers joined us at the field training, and all 13 participants together with the three Catalan experts went to Orheiul Vechi in order to exercise their skills for data collection. There, in a beautiful and astonishing landscape, we split into 3 groups led by the ornithologists from the Catalan Ornithological Institute. The three teams chose 3 different line-transects and started identifying, counting and writing down the bird species in a special Atlas field form. This entire activity took place in a unique and beautiful setting: dozens of pilgrims coming to the local monastery carrying flowers and candles for the Orthodox Palm Sunday liturgy. The field exercise proved to be a good opportunity for our volunteers to test the knowledge they acquired the day before, and also offered to the Republic of Moldova’s team a better insight regarding the coordination of the entire volunteer network. Since most participants didn’t have any problems performing the line-transects, the Moldovan coordination team has designed a methodology of 2 km line-transects distributed across the country which includes counting and also registering Atlas codes.

Moldovan ornithologists were registering breeding evidences even before the training started! (photo by Manolo Garcia)

Moldovan ornithologists were registering breeding evidences even before the training started! (photo by Manolo Garcia)

 

Being Palm Sunday, the Moldovan coordination team treated their guests, the Catalan ornithologists, with the best food from the country, served in a very traditional place. We enjoyed a lot the time spent there, and we strongly believe the training was extremely useful: we shared experience and knowledge, advices and recommendations, we made friends, and… we saw a lot of birds!

Also for foreign birdwatchers!

Before and after the workshop, the Catalan team travelled around the country together with Vitalie Ajder, member of the Moldovan coordination team, recording breeding birds in the field. The country proved to be excellent for atlas fieldwork, with beautiful and accessible landscapes and wonderful people. Moving around is easy in most parts of the country for foreign birdwatchers, that will enjoy a nice diversity of birds. During the 3 field days, we recorded 144 bird species, including Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka), White and Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus and P.crispus), Lesser Grey Shrikes (Lanius minor), good numbers of Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) and high densities of 7 species of woodpeckers, to name a few highlights.

 

If you are interested in contributing to EBBA2 fieldwork in Moldova do not hesitate to contact the national coordination team or EBBA2 coordination team (see How to contribute in a foreign country).

In Moldova many eastern species meet western ones, and the same is true for Yellow Wagtails populations, showing a huge variation in Moldovan breeding birds (photo by Martí Franch)

In Moldova many eastern species meet western ones, and the same is true for Yellow Wagtails populations, showing a huge variation in Moldovan breeding birds (photo by Martí Franch)

 

We believe that the workshop was useful for the Moldovan colleagues, especially for discussing any doubts on methodology and helping define the fieldwork that will be done in the following seasons, and also for encouraging them (even more!) to cover this wonderful country for the EBBA2. We were impressed by the enthusiasm and expertise of the Moldovan coordination team and their atlas participants. The Catalan ornithologists want to thank them for the nice preparation of the workshop and all the help during the field days.

 

The Moldovan coordination team would like to address a big thank you to all the participants involved in the training sessions, and would like to share their huge enthusiasm of having as guests the Catalan experts. They proved to be very good teachers and birding companions!

 

Stay focused for more good news from Moldova!

 

16.05.2016., Silvia Ursul (Moldovan coordination team) and Martí Franch (EBBA2 coordination team)