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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

From the Greek Mountains - GSS 5th day

Again a day with field work. Alessandro continued the theoretical component of the course by talking about rarefaction. Then all headed to the field – except the bird group, Elitsa, Wissam and Irina, who started their day very early, with their first bird census. The European nightingale is an easy tick, as several birds are singing nearly continuously, day and night, around the building, in the village, and up the forested slope. Red-rumped swallows also breed under the eves, and the first clutch of the jay must have fledged, because we see individuals in unlikely places, eating cherries, exploring gates in the middle of the village, etc. – obviously inexperienced birds in the process of learning how a proper Jay should behave.
We continued with a computer exercise of biodiversity partitioning, which took up much of the afternoon. After dinner, we had a night walk. There are still a lot of fireflies dancing around over the meadows, the forest and in the gardens of the village. We heard several nightjars, the melodious whistle of the scops owl, and of course, the nightingales. The wind and a small afternoon shower decreased arthropod activity: only a few moths and three scorpions were seen. We ended the evening in one of the village pub-restaurants, that is becoming the regular watering hole for the course participants. The village being nearly empty of tourists, the owners are always very happy to see us.

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