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Autumn bird protection camp

Diary of events

The landscape of Malta: hunting and trapping huts are everywhereThe landscape of Malta: hunting and trapping huts are everywhereThe Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS), together with its Maltese partners, will be conducting an internationally manned bird protection camp on Malta from 11 September to 3 October 2009. The 32 participants are volunteers from Malta, Italy, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Poland, Israel, Germany and the USA.

We will regularly inform our supporters and others of our activities on this website - updates will be online daily, usually between 20:00 and 22:00 hrs. We are sure that our readers understand that, for security reasons, we do not publish potentially sensitive information immediately. This applies particularly to actual roost sites of prime target birds of the Maltese hunters, who also read our daily diary -

More information on this year’s camp is available here...

Video material from CABS operations on Malta can be viewed here...

Saturday 03.10.2009

The final day of this year’s bird protection camp also passed quietly. In the morning several Marsh Harriers were able to leave the island unharmed. A CABS team near Bahrija ensured close protection for them and no one risked firing a shot.

In the evening the team filmed a hunter instructing a youth, presumably his son, how to shoot as swallows. The pair shot about 30 times at passing House and Sand Martins.

The evening operation was the final one for the remaining 5 CABS members from Italy and the USA!

Friday 02.10.2009

The last but one day of this year's bird protection camp on Malta was the quietest by far of the whole operation.

The two CABS teams recorded no incidents. the weather - clouds, rain and wind - is at present totally unsuitable for migration. Monetheless a few uncommon birds were seen on the island such as Osprey and Red-footed Falcon.

Thursday 01.10.2009

Two CABS teams were in the field today. The bad weather brought a lot of migrationg birds to the islands and our teams had their hands full.

In the morning shots were again fired at birds of prey at Bahrija. At about 8.45 am a hunter fired two shots at a Honey Buzzards but flew on unharmed. Shortly afterwards a flock of some 25 Night Herons (all juveniles) flew over his head; but he had seen the two Italian CABS members and did not fire at the birds.

The 3.00 pm hunting curfew, which had been introduced to protect migrant birds arriving in the evening, ended yesterday. As was to be expected shots could be heard all over the island in the afternoon and hundreds of hunters were out and about.

Injured Honey BuzzardInjured Honey BuzzardAt 3.30 pm, on the western Victoria Lines near Mgarr, a CABS team observed a hunter firing at a high flying Honey Buzzard. Some 40 minutes later, from the same location, the team saw several hunters shooting at a flock of Barn Swallows for want of other targets.

At the location where two CABS members were menaced yesterday by 8 hunters they today at 4.00 pm found a dead Common Kestrel. The juvenile bird was scarcely 2 hours dead and had clearly been deposited deliberately as a warning to the conservationists.

Wednesday 30.09.2009

Apart from two incidents another quiet day for the two remaining CABS teams on Malta.

In the morning a well-located and for the hunters highly visible CABS team near Bahrija ensured the safe departure of a small flock of Marsh Harriers. No one risked shooting at the birds.

In the afternoon one shot was heard on the Victoria Lines at 3.50 pm. At around 6.00 pm, in the same location, 5 salvos of shot were fired at 3 Honey Buzzards; but they appeared to continue their flight uninjured. The CABS team member in the vicinity, who was temporarily on his own, was menaced by a hunter who forced him gradually towards a 15 m deep ditch in front of the Victoria Lines. The hunter eventually left after threatening to throw him in the next time.

Another CABS team, somewhat west of the first incident, were intimidated by 8 hunters 6.45 pm. At first the armed men shouted at and menaced the two conservationists but, after a while, the situation calmed down.

Both incidents were reported to the police.

Postscript - 22 - 26.09.2009

The following offences against the afternoon hunting curfew were reported to us by a member of our partner organisation IAR Malta:

  • 22.09.2009, Xemxija, 6.00 pm, 6 shots
  • 23.09.2009, Xemxija, 5.30 pm, 4 shots
  • 23.09.2009, Xemxija, 5.45 - 6.00 pm, 9 shots
  • 24.09.2009, Xemxija, 5.30 - 7.10 pm, 13 shots
  • 26.09.2009, Wardija, 6.30 pm, 1 shot

Tuesday 29.09.2009

Our three teams had their hands full today.

In the morning several Marsh Harriers came under fire from hunters near Bahrija in the west of Malta:

  • At 7.10 am hunters fired at a Marsh Harrier which was hit several times and was killed by the fourth shot.
  • At 8.15 am a CABS team met up with a friendly hunter who told the two Italian team members that another hunter had shot down a Marsh harrier 20 minutes earlier. He expressed his concern about the extent of poaching on Malta.
  • At 8.20 am a hunter only a few metres away from a CABS team aimed at a low flying harrier and pulled the trigger of his shotgun. Only a ‘click’ was heard! Cursing he loaded his weapon whilst the bird landed on a nearby tree. The two CABS team members (from the USA and Israel), observing the hunter stalking the sitting bird, ran towards the tree shouting and frightened the bird away. The poacher restricted himself to shouting abuse at the CABS team.
  • Around 8.25 am and 8.45 am two Marsh Harriers with very badly damaged plumage from gunfire were sighted.

The afternoon was fortunately quiet. North of Dingli Cliffs a single shot was recorded at 6.40 pm. There was little bird movement on the island.

Monday 28.09.2009

Blue Rock Trush, the Maltese national bird, kept illegally in captivityBlue Rock Trush, the Maltese national bird, kept illegally in captivity3 teams were deployed today. The morning was quiet and some 30 Marsh Harriers and Honey Buzzards were able to leave for Africa unscathed.

The afternoon also began quietly and only one shot was heard after curfew at 6.10 pm near the western Victoria Lines. Trouble began as our teams reported the arrival of 3 mega-birds. A Lesser Spotted Eagle, a Black Stork and an Egyptian Vulture arrived over Malta in the evening. The hunters were immediately alerted and they closely followed the flight path of the three birds. CABS teams cooperated particularly closely with BirdLife Malta in shadowing the extremely rare occurrence of the Egyptian Vulture on Malta. The locations of all three birds could be tracked for some time until the vulture and Black Stork were lost from view - hopefully to a secure night roost.

The Lesser Spotted Eagle definitely did NOT make it. 5 shots were fired at the bird on ots descent into Buskett gardens and it was hit several times before falling on to private property. The terrible scenario was witnessed by our BirdLife partners. At the close of this report, 8.50m pm, there was no more news on the situation.

Sunday 27.09.2009

Three teams were out on operations this Sunday wiHt participants from Italy, Israel and the USA.

This was the quietest day of the whole camp so far. The hunters appear paralysed; but due to the weather there are few birds on the island.

In the afternoon a single shot was heard near Bahrija at 4.40 pm. The hunting curfew on Sunday is 1.00 pm.

Saturday 26.09.2009

This was the last day of operations with 7 teams. The third and final week of the camp will be conducted with fewer personnel. In the early hours of the morning 5 police officers seized electronic lures with Quail calls in the Bahrija area. A CABS team led them to the area.

Shortly after 8.00 am, also in the Bahrija area, a Marsh Harrier was shot down in front of a CABS team. Another Marsh Harrier with shotgun injuries was found under the cliffs near Manikata and was recovered by a CABS team.

In the afternoon a Common Kestrel with shotgun wounds was handed in to our partner organisation IAR. The bird has been found the evening before in the Dingli Cliffs area. A team searching the area where the injured Marsh Harrier had been found in the morning found the remains of a Common Kestrel, almost certainly shot down.

Otherwise it remained quiet. There are few migrating birds on the island. No shots were heard after the 3.00 pm curfew.

Friday, 25.09.2009

We again had 7 teams deployed today. The day was quiet compared to the previous few days.

In the morning nearly all teams were deployed south of the Buskett Gardens roost, in order to secure the corridor to the sea and Africa for the birds of prey. This proved to be a good decision as the birds circled over the area to as late as 9.00 am to start their further migration across the guns of dozens of hunters. Our presence deterred the hunters from firing a single shot at the birds. Two of the Honey Buzzards seen are unlikely to reach Tunisia as their plumage was in extremely bad condition, almost certainly due to shot guns wounds received yesterday.

At 7.25 am, somewhat further to the north near Mgarr, a CABS team observed a hunter shooting at a Marsh Harrier. The bird was hit but flew on. As the culprit discovered the team (two CABS members 56 and 72 years old) watching him the verbally abused them and fired two shots close over their heads. An official complaint was immediately lodged with the police at Rabat on the grounds of attempted bodily harm. The police are investigating.

At midday a local bird watcher informed us off that a flock of Night Herons had been fired at dusk near Siggiewi. The birds landed to roost in a tree. Shortly thereafter a hunter fired blindly into the roost. There was no sign of the birds the following morning.

The afternoon was very quiet. Two shots were recorded near the western Victoria Lines at 4.30 pm, and a further shot at 6.35 pm. Another single shot was recorded at Bahrija around 4.55 hrs. The Maltese newspapers reported yesterday on the FKNK press conference. The FKNK president Lino Farrugia was reported as stating that many Maltese hunters are suffering from depression and are on tranquillisers. This information puts dangerous incidents with weapons into a new light - such as the one described above.

Thursday 24.09.2009

Quail in cage to lure migrating birdsQuail in cage to lure migrating birdsToday 7 CABS teams were deployed on operations for the first time.

In the morning, protected by a large number of conservationists and two police Patrols, the 120 Marsh Harriers that had arrived to roost in Bahrija the previous evening left safely in a southerly direction. The 8 CABS members, 4 BirdLife Raptor Camp volunteers and 4 police officers had to stay in place until 10.00 am until the last bird of prey had left. Some 4 Marsh harriers and a Common Kestrel were seen to have gunshot wounds, probably incurred the previous evening.

Near Laferla Cross shots were fired several times at departing birds of prey. At 7.55 am hunters shot and killed a Hobby in full view of a CABS team and just over an hour later, in the same place, an unidentified falcon met the same fate. The police searched the area but the culprits had probably already removed the birds.

We also received two reports via our anti-poaching hotline. On Gozo a heron was shot at dawn and an unidentified falcon was killed near Mellieha at 9.00 am.

The afternoon kept us busy as well. We recorded 26 shots after the 3.00 pm curfew:

  • western Victoria Lines, 4.00 pm, 2 shots
  • Bahrija, 4.05 - 6.20 pm, 4 Shots
  • Fawwara, 6.00 pm, 2 Shots
  • Dwejra, 4.30 - 5.00 pm, 3 Shots
  • Gudga, 7.00 pm, 5 Shots at overflying Night Herons

About 6.45 pm hunters on the Delimara Peninsula shot at a flock of 10 Marsh Harriers. One bird fell dead to the ground but the others apparently escaped uninjured.

Near Bahrija a CABS team found a freshly shot Golden Oriole at 4.00 pm.

Stop press: Between 6.00 and 9.00 pm ALE officers arrested 6 hunters for breaching curfew regulations and confiscated 8 shotguns.

Because of the current bad weather, Malta is now an important stepping stone for birds migrating to Africa. This afternoon hundreds of Marsh Harriers, Honey Buzzards, Lesser and Common Kestrely, White Egrets and Grey and Night Herons arrived on passage. In addition 2 Ospreys and a Lesser Spotted Eagle landed to roost during the day.

Wednesday, 23.09.2009

Six CABS teams were again deployed on operations today. The weather was stormy and rainy throughout the day.

At about 7.15 am in the morning, at the same location near Bahrija where two Ospreys and a Kestrel were killed two days ago, a flock of 5 Marsh Harriers were fired at by hunters. One bird was mortally wounded and another was hit but flew on.

Once again the 3.00 pm hunting curfew was broken. Near Laferla Cross a total of six shots were recorded between 3.50 and 5.15 pm. During this period numerous birds of prey, including Red-footed falcons, arrived to roost in the nearby Buskett Gardens. AQ patrol on Marfa Ridge spotted a hunter with a shotgun who ran away after seeing the team.

At dusk 120 Marsh Harriers landed in a roost near Bahrija. Hunters appeared on the scene immediately to find out exactly where the sought-after trophy birds had landed. At about 8.00 pm , after darkness had fallen, 9 shots were fired at the roosting birds. The police were called and were quickly on the scene - their presence put an end to the illegal hunt for the time being. CABS kept a patrol in the area for the whole night to prevent any more attacks on the birds. At another location, which for security reasons cannot yet be published here, a single Black Stork landed. This bird was also guarded by CABS throughout the night.

For lack of any sensible arguments, the hunters’ association FKNK attacked CABS today in a despicable fashion. In an open letter to the Malta Police Commissioner the FKNK chairman Lino Farrugia tried to stir up anti-German sentiments with thinly disguised references to the mass graves of Jews in the Third Reich. This was in connection with the 201 birds found earlier in the FKNK hunting reserve at Mizieb (we only used the words ‘bird cemetery’ or ‘graveyard’). In a statement which could have come from Alice in Wonderland, he accused CABS and BirdLife Malta between the lines of concealing the corpses and remains of Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Nightjars and Golden Orioles under stones in the area. His credibility is gradually approaching zero.

Tuesday 22.09.2009

Again 6 teams were deployed on operations. The day passed very quietly as weather conditions held up migration; but in the evening at dusk the first Marsh harriers and Honey Buzzards began to arrive over Malta.

From today a Youtube video on the bird graveyard in the FKNK hunting reserve at Mizieb is online for viewing here .

The afternoon and evening were also quite and the hunting curfew was observed almost everywhere. The only record was of 4 shots north of the Victoria Lines at about 5.40 pm.

Today we learnt that in the south Italian region of Reggio Calabria - on the migration flyway to Malta - two hunters illegally shot and killed 12 Marsh Harriers last Monday. One of the poachers was arrested.

Monday, 21.09.2009

Six teams were deployed on operations in the morning. In the evening three teams were withdrawn to assist in the search for bird corpses and remains in the FKNK hunting reserve in Mizieb.

The morning passed relatively quietly as there was little if any bird migration over the island. In the vicinity of Freeport in the south of Malta a CABS team was verbally abused by angry hunters, one of whom fired a shot in the air only 2 metres from an Italian team member.

Goldfinch trapped in  the net, an usual end in the MediterraneanGoldfinch trapped in the net, an usual end in the MediterraneanFrom midday onwards the search for dead birds in the FKNK hunting reserve in Mizieb continued. The day before some 73 illegally shot birds had been found as reported earlier. Volunteers from CABS and BirdLife Malta, accompanied by police officers, found a further 119 bird corpses and remains within the course of a few hours. The total found to date (as at is now 193 (and rising) and includes:

  • 49 unidentified birds
  • 38 Marsh Harriers
  • 35 Night Herons
  • 33 Falcons (of various species but not exactly identifiable)
  • 18 Honey Buzzards
  • 4 Nightjars
  • 4 homing pigeons
  • 3 Herons
  • 3 Common Kestrels
  • 3 Hoopoes
  • 1 Bee-eater
  • 1 Nightingale
  • 1 Golden Oriole

In the late afternoon the first Black Storks for this autumn reached the island - never to leave it! At about 5.00 pm conservationists reported that both birds had been shot down near the Buskett roost. The Maltese hunters are now clearly completely out of control.

Sunday, 20.09.2009

Six CABS teams were deployed on operations on this turbulent day.

The intensity of hunting was massive in the morning hours. Between 6.20 and 9.10 am we recorded between 40 and 80 shots per minute! Directly on the coast at Bahrija, where hunting is very concentrated at the best of times, two Ospreys were victims of the shooting orgy. They fell to earth in full view of a CABS team. A search for the corpses was initiated immediately and three more teams were called in to assist. The dead birds were not found however and it is assumed that the hunter(s) got to them first. One of the hunters left his rucksack behind in his haste and it was taken by the police for investigation. During the search a freshly killed Common Kestrel was found.

A large number of shots were fired in the Mizieb hunting reserve in the early morning and 3 birds were killed.

In the afternoon we joined forces with BirdLife Malta to search for the birds killed in the morning. To our astonishment we unearthed a veritable bird cemetery. By evening the corpses or remains of 73 birds had been recovered - the search continues tomorrow. The whole macabre story can be read in our press release.

The evening fortunately remained quiet as migration had come almost to a standstill. Only one shot after the 1.00 pm curfew was heard - at 3.35 pm in the Mizieb area.

Saturday, 19.09.2009

This Saturday was a black day for bird protection in Europe. After holding back from illegal activity the past few days, the Maltese hunters today staged a bird massacre. The 5 CABS teams - from their positions alone - observed 5 birds of prey being shot down. If the picture across the whole of the island was in any way similar there must have been at least a dozen dead birds if not even more.

Three teams were deployed during the night from Friday to Saturday with the task of locating illegal bird callers. A total of 84 illegal electronic devices were found playing Common Quail calls. If this figure for the area searched is extrapolated for the whole island an estimate of at least 400 callers is estimated.

Near Bahrija a further wader trapping site was located where Redshank calls were being played. In the morning the ALE checked the site, which belonged to a trappers with previous convictions.

The uncontrolled hunting of the birds of prey that had arrived the previous evening began in the early morning:

  • 07:00 hrs, Ghar Lapsi, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down
  • 07:10 hrs, Ta´Zuta Chapel, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down but flew on wounded
  • 07:25 hrs, Ta´Zuta Chapel, 1 Montagu’s or Pallid Harrier was shot down
  • 07:30 hrs, Ghar Lapsi, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down but flew on wounded
  • 07:37 hrs, Fawwara, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down but flew on wounded. The culprits flee after running into the arms of a CABS teams. The car registration was noted and passed to the police.
  • 07:55 hrs, Laferla Cross, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down
  • 08:02 hrs, Dar tal-Providenza, 1 Honey Buzzard was shot down

CABS Bird guard on MaltaCABS Bird guard on MaltaThe afternoon was also lively. Numerous birds arrived from Sicily including Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, as well as Osprey, Lesser Kestrel and a single Booted Eagle. A flock of 45 Little Egrets also arrived to roost in the north of the island. The 3.00 pm hunting curfew was broken on a number of occasions:

  • Marfa-Ridge, 16:00 hrs, 6 shots
  • Manikata, 17:30 - 19:00 hrs, 18 shots
  • Bahrija, 17:30 - 18:30 hrs, 10 shots
  • Xemxija, 16:10 hrs, 9 shots
  • Zurrieq, 17:20 - 18:10 hrs, 17 shots
  • Victoria Lines, 14:30 - 19:35 hrs, 51 shots

A hunter carrying a weapon ran into a CABS team near Ghar Lapsi at about 16:00 hrs. He took to his heels. In Victoria Lines west, not far from Bahrija, a group of hunters shot at some 11 Honey Buzzards. Two birds fell dead to the ground before the eyes of the Italian CABS team

In the evening new camp participants from Germany and the USA arrived on Malta. From tomorrow we will again have 6 teams deployed on operations.

Friday, 18.09.2009

Seven CABS teams were deployed on operations on Malta today.

The morning was very quiet with only two small incidents. Near Laferla Cross an angry hunter spat on a passing CABS vehicle, and in Mgarr a German and an Italian team member were surrounded by an angry mob of hunters who called them Nazis and threw them out of a road which they claimed was private (although unsigned as such). In fact it was a public footpath.

In the afternoon there was a large fly-in of raptors from Sicily. By evening there a total of considerably more than 100 Honey Buzzards and Marsh Harriers, half a dozen Hobbys and Kestrels as well as 2 Ospreys and 2 Lanner Falcons were sighted, most flying into night roosts.

Between 6.00 and 7.00 pm some 20 Honey Buzzards and Marsh harriers flew in to roost in the Wied ir Rum valley north of Dingli Cliffs. Despite the 3.00 pm curfew, two shots were fired at the first birds to arrive; but as the hunters noticed the presence of a CABS and BirdLife team with video cameras the guns remained quiet for the remainder of the fly-in. In addition to the shots mentioned above, the afternoon curfew was only broken at Dingli (2 shots 6.35 pm), and single shots at Xemxija (3.05 pm), Laferla Cross (4.33 pm), Manikata (5.50 pm) and Delimara (6.05 pm).

Thursday, 17.09.2009

In the morning 5 teams were deployed on Malta and one on Gozo. In the late afternoon and evening all teams were out on operations on the main island.

Despite weak migration and the presence of bird guards birds of prey were again shot down today. A CABS team on the Delimara Peninsula in the south of the Malta sighted two Honey Buzzards at the coast about to head across the sea to Africa. Suddenly a salvo of shots were heard and, at the tenth shot, one of the birds fell dead to the ground. The other was probably hit as well and it is doubtful if it will reach the North African coast. The hunter or hunters could not be identified.

In the area of the famous Blue Grotto near Zurrieq a CABS team managed to film the shooting down of a falcon. The bird, almost certainly a Hobby, flew past the team and fell out of sight after an sudden series of shots from unseen hunters. The offender was not identified.

On Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island, the morning passed relatively quietly. There were however practically no birds of interest for hunters on the island.

The afternoon was extremely quiet. After the official 3.00 pm curfew only 16 shots were recorded. Most of these (11 shots between 5.45 and 7.15 pm) were heard in the area of the Gnejna Bay bathing beach. Here a hunter was observed shooting from his vehicle. Three shots were fired in the Marsascala area between 6.00 and 7.00 pm and two further shots were heard near Manikata at 6.10 pm. West of Bahrija two armed hunters were sighted on the cliffs but no shot was fired.

Wednesday, 16.09.2009

Honey Buzzard found with a broken wing: the injure is caused by a shotgunHoney Buzzard found with a broken wing: the injure is caused by a shotgunSix CABS teams were deployed again today.

A storm raged during the night and continued into the morning hours. Two teams conducted night patrols from 1am and 6 am in various parts of the island with the aim of locating electronic bird lures. With these devices, which play Quail calls, the hunters attract the birds on passage to their shooting huts. Within a coverage of not more than 5 % of the unbuilt part of the island the two teams found a total of 26 such devices.

Despite the storm, very many hunters, but few birds, were out and about in the countryside. No incidents were reported.

Although the shooting curfew was in force from 3.00 pm, our teams counted a total of 54 shots after this time. Shots were recorded at or in the vicinity of Manikata (27), Victoria Lines (18), Luqa airport (2), Ghar Lapsi (1) and Marsascala (6). Near Santa Lucia a Turtle Dove was shot down and on the western Victoria Lines an injured Hobby with severe damage to its plumage (shotgun wound) was filmed.

Tuesday, 15.09.2009

Six bird guard teams were again out on operations today. From today until the end of September (when hopefully most migrant birds of prey are through) all hunting is banned daily after 3.00 pm (in addition to the permanent curfew on Sundays and public holidays from 1.00 pm. The Maltese government has imposed the afternoon ban as otherwise it would be impossible to control the massive shooting down of protected birds of prey which usually arrive in numbers in the evening from Sicily.

The morning was very quiet. Relatively large numbers of Turtle Doves arrived overnight so that the hunters were out in force. Nonetheless, as very few birds of prey were on the island, there were no incidents.

At midday a CABS patrol conducted a quick search of the hunting reserve managed by the Maltese Hunting Association - FKNK. It came as no surprise that they discovered the concealed remains of a Honey Buzzard, a Grey Heron and two Marsh Harriers under stones and rubbish heaps.

The evening was also quite due to the weak bird migration. In addition to a few Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrels and Hobbys a single Short-toed Eagle was sighted. With the exception of one Kestrel, which was seen with a hanging leg at the western Victoria Lines and appeared unlikely to continue migration, all appeared to be unscathed The 3.00 pm hunting curfew was respected for the most part. The only shots after the curfew were recorded at Dingli ( 2 - 4.20 pm), Manikata (5.55 pm) and Ghar Lapsi (6.09 pm). A CABS team deployed near Bahrija filmed two armed hunters in the field - with guns at the ready - two hours after the curfew.

Monday, 14.09.2009

We had 6 teams out on operations today. In the morning a CABS team near Ghar Lapsi in the west of the island observed hunters shooting at two Honey Buzzards leaving their night roosts and at a large flock of Bee-eaters. The birds were all flying high and out of range and remained therefore unharmed. Not far from Laferla Cross, at about 8.30 am, an obviously injured Honey buzzard was brought down with a single shot before the eyes of a CABS team. The act was recorded on video. The police, who were immediately alerted, were quickly on the scene but were unable to catch the culprit as several hunters were active in the immediate vicinity.

The afternoon passed quietly because migration came almost to a standstill due to the weather conditions. A Honey Buzzard with obvious shotgun injuries to the wings was filmed at Buskett Gardens and a team at Ghar Lapsi found plumage torn apart by gunshot.

Postscript to 12.09.2009: The 29 confiscated waders were: Wood Sandpiper (10), Common Sandpiper (8), Little Stint (6), Little Ringed Plover (3) and Curlew Sandpiper (2).

Sunday, 13.09.2009

Police agents calm down some huntersPolice agents calm down some huntersFive teams were deployed today on operations. In the evening more participants arrived from Bulgaria and Germany so that our complement of 13 for the first week of the camp is full.

Heavy rain fell during the morning departure of the overnight roosting birds so that hunting was literally rained off. There was only one critical situation near Marsaskala in the east of the island, where several hunters had set their sights on a flock of Marsh Harriers. The arrival of an Italian CABS team meant that the guns stayed silent.

The curfew on hunting begins at 1.00 pm on Sundays. After the bad weather front had passed through moderate bird migration began and the hunters complied to a great extent with the shooting ban. In the time-frame 2.00 to 7.30 pm only 5 shots were registered. This is unexpectedly quiet for Malta.

In the north of the island, in the Marfa Ridge area, one of our teams found a dead Stone Curlew in a transport box in a deserted hunting hut. It had probably been used as a live decoy for wader trapping. The Stone Curlew is a protected species on Malta.


Two teams were out on operations today. In the Early evening further camp members from Bulgaria, Germany and Italy arrived on the island.

In the morning a CABS patrol checking a former trapping suite near Bahrija, where last autumn police acting on our information seized over 70 waders and other species, struck lucky again today. After hearing taped Redshank calls previous evening the team revisited the area and located and filmed an active site with large clap nets and live decoy birds. The incensed trapper was abusive to the team, barred the road and spat into the patrol vehicle. Within 25 minutes the team met up with and briefed an ALE police patrol alerted by the CABS control room. The officers arrested the trappers and 29 protected waders were seized including Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper. All were released into the wild at the Al Ghadira nature reserve in the north of Malta.

After consultation with the police, and having received a written apology from the trapper for his behaviour, CABS withdrew their official complaint of abusive behaviour.

See news article

Friday, 11.09.2009

The first camp participants arrived shortly after midday today and two teams began operations almost immediately.

Whereas things were relatively quiet in the north of the island around Xemxija, a flock of some 10 Marsh Harriers came under fire in the vicinity of Bahrija in the west. The estimated 10 hunters involved hit one of the birds but it probably continued its flight. A police patrol, met by chance by our team in the area, were informed and conducted a search - but without result.