Aug 26, 2011

Back to school ! Si torna a scuola !

Since I will be in Ngilai for the entire month of August, I have been able to meet with our students here in the village. This is vacation time for Kenyan schools, so all of them are here in these weeks.
As you remember, four students are receiving a small fellowship that pays their school fees. Thanks to these small donations, Naomi, Simon, Danson and Thomas have been able to attend secondary school. This would have been very unlikely without our help, so we can be proud of ourselves :-)
Naomi, Danson, Simon and Thomas will soon begin the fourth and last year of school, and we hope that we will be able to support more students of the Ngilai village to school in the coming years.  Meanwhile, this year's donations allowed us to sponsor another student (the fifth). Damaris is a 15-year old girld, she is currently attending the first year of secondary school at Mwalimu Girls Secondary School in Meru, and we wish her all the best.
Damaris, Naomi, Simon, Thomas and Danson

(Traduzione). E' agosto, e come sempre sono a Ngilai molto indaffarato a torturare uccellini. Ad agosto in Kenya le scuole sono chiuse, e tutti i nostri studenti sono qui nel villaggio. Fra poco Naomi, Danson, Simon e Thomas inizieranno il quarto e ultimo anno di scuola, e in tutta sincerita' vi posso garantire che senza il nostro aiuto non avrebbero potuto raggiungere questo risultato! Evviva!
Le donazioni di quest'anno sono state generose, e ci hanno permesso di aiutare una nouva studentessa, Damaris, che frequenta il primo anno alla Mwalimu School di Meru. Molti auguri a lei e ai suoi amici!

Aug 20, 2011

News from the Mathews range

Hello everybody! August is vacation time here in Kenya, and as usual I am in the Mathews range with my team and we are busy busy busy on our forest bird research.
The big news is that birds are again in trouble this year, another big drought is impacting the forest very strongly and our data show that bird populations this year are hitting another the all time minimum more than -50% decrement since 2005, the year when we began this study.
Lawrence and Sammy as usual are using mist nets to obtain very accurate information on the biology of the forest birds, and their results are clear - some species, even common ones like the Grey-backed Camaroptera, this year did not breed at all, as it shown by the fact that the number of juveniles that we caught this year was more thna 50% than the number we got last year. Clearly, the drought is hitting very badly on the birds, and one wonders what will be the long term consequences of this.
A Grey-backed Camaroptera in the nets. This year we caught almost no juveniles of this species. A clear sign that the breeding season was a failure due to the harsh drought conditions
Talking of global climate change might seem like shooting too far, but the fact is that the most recent research suggests that droughts like the one of this year (and the one of 2009) will become more and more common in East Africa in the future. No doubts that this will have a very bad impact on the forests and their fauna.