5th November 2013 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Important Bird Areas

BirdsLast weekend a colleague and I joined a trip by the Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (UzSPB – http://www.uzspb.uz/) to one of the country’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The IBAs have been identified as part of an international programme, overseen by BirdLife International, to identify, document and protect a network of sites that are critical for the conservation of the world’s birds. UzSPB are working with partners who own or run these areas to encourage bird- and nature-friendly management practices.

This particular IBA was located in a state hunting reserve to the south of Tashkent viloyat. Officials in the reserve are monitoring the bird presence, and a small part of the reserve, which is currently off-limits for hunting, is being managed to encourage a stable breeding population of birds and other wildlife, and to serve as a stopping place for migratory or wintering birds. We walked round with wardens from the hunting reserve, who spend their days there and know and love the area and its wildlife.

Despite the cold and the occasional rain, it was a glorious day. We saw dozens of species, from tiny warblers to majestic white-tailed eagles, including several that I had never seen before. I particularly enjoyed watching the marsh harriers – a very elegant, powerful bird of prey that almost died out in the UK in the 1960s because of pesticide poisoning and pressure on its habitat, but has since recovered. The day ended with the wonderful sight of thousands of crows and jackdaws gathering to roost for the night, making swirling, ever-changing shapes against the darkening sky.

Why does nature matter? Because of what it contributes to the world’s economy – it’s been calculated that the global value to mankind of ecosystem services – the services provided to us by nature – is greater than the world’s entire GDP. Because natural systems are extraordinarily complex and interdependent, and damaging one apparently unimportant element can have unexpected and serious impacts on other parts of the system. But also because of the splendour and the fragility of it all – as a British nature writer, Simon Barnes put it “our souls’ need, or one of our souls’ needs, is for wildness: for space, for green, for running water, for the fizz or even the faint buzzle of danger … without an element of the non-human in our lives, we are not properly human”.

2 comments on “Important Bird Areas

  1. Dear Sir George Edgar,
    this report of yours is in my opinion quite outstanding plus excellent. And : Very important too. Not only in re. of our environment but also for the project “Animal Peace “London /UK.
    Best wishes, Ingo-Steven , Stuttgart

  2. Dear Sir George Edgar,
    it might sound quite “naivé” but I do believe , that anykind of bird or animal protection is also some sort of a human protection. I mean : If some people are stupid enough by NOT protecting themselves and the entire nature , they will sooner or later destroy our whole planet. in other words : No protection of e.g. water the result will be of course dirty rivers or seas.
    But no-one can exist without clean, fresh water. No humn beings, no birds.
    So I do very much welcome this BirdLife Int ´l programme activities but also the intention of Uz SPB , esp. within the context of this area near south of Tashkent viloyat.
    Best wishes , Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart

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About George Edgar

George Edgar is Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan. He took up his position in September 2012. Ambassador Edgar has previously been Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Cambodia and Macedonia; Consul General…

George Edgar is Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan. He took
up his position in September 2012. Ambassador Edgar has previously been Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Cambodia and Macedonia; Consul General in St Petersburg; and interim Ambassador to the Holy See. Most recently, he played a key role in Protocol Directorate in the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office in London in relation to arrangements for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Ambassador Edgar is married and has two daughters.

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