Thankfully we've not suffered from any of the snowfalls that have affected other parts of the country and, on Sunday,even had a very pleasant day. Whilst I was out yesterday on the southern Rinns everywhere is rather quiet, with bird numbers seemingly down to a minimum. The time has also allowed me to complete a mammoth "push" on admin work, not quite completed, but improved.
I was entertained this morning to receive the first copy of the newsletter of the Sam Veasna Centre in Cambodia. The Centre was set up by friends of Sam Veasna after he died of malaria at the age of 35. An excellent fieldman I'm sure he'd be very proud to see the great strides forward that conservation has secured in his name.
Last year at this time I was in Cambodia on the Oriental Bird Club trip which makes use of the various community centres run by SVC and WCS. Village communities have agreed to give up hunting over their lands in "exchange" for involvement in local centres like Tmatboey from which they receive payment for looking after the facilities, providing local guides etc. As a result of such initiatives the White-shouldered Ibis population has risen from two adults, yes TWO, in 2002 to 23 adults in 2008.....a tremendous result for what is a very rare bird. As one of the 128 people who visited there last year I feel both privileged at having seen such work succeed but, also, feel a sense of hope that such schemes can achieve such marvellous results. Other schemes are afoot and I most certainly hope I shall be able to go back, meet old friends and enjoy the wonderful food too!!! Anyone who is into world birding should consider this trip, but also take in other areas of Cambodia too. It's a fabulous country, trying very hard to regain its feet after a turbulent past and it deserves every support. WCS, as an American organization we don't hear too much about in the UK, is doing a sterling job.....the quiet, positive side of American support for which it deserves every shred of praise. Try it in 2010 and see Giant Ibis, Milky Stork, White-winged Duck plus many, many more! Asian heaven!! If anyone wants more information at any time just come back to me and , in between, take a look at www.samveasna.org