Lagoon of Karavasta is a real treasure, in terms of species and habitats and it makes us proud of our Natural Heritage but at the same time obligate us with the responsibility to protect and conserve it.
As the cold winter season is already in its infancy, Divjaka-Karavasta National Park is nevertheless hosting the first wintering birds and the early nesting Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the flagship species of the Park and a species requiring conservation measures. For this purpose, AOS team conducted on December 7th, 2019 a visit in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park within the framework of the “Let’s Make Divjaka Natural Again” project, supported by CEPF. A joint team of AOS and NAPA Fier, visited the Pelican Island to observe the current conditions of the pelicans breeding subcolonies and the potential needs for the rehabilitation of the so-called nesting beds, structures composed of tree branches and twigs in order to provide the Pelicans with safe nesting grounds from potential flooding events often usual during the last years.
While monitoring along the pelican island, the focus and the attention of the field-team were caught from the typical characteristics that this species exhibits before the breeding season. Dalmatian Pelicans are particularly charming at the beginning of the breeding season. Their lower mandible and pouch obtain an orange-red color, their curly feathers are more obvious and the presence of several specimens in the pelican island warns us that breeding season is very near! Therefore, our actions for the rehabilitation of pelicans’ reproductive beds should not be delayed.
Presently, AOS team will start to collect the nesting materials needed, as in previous years, consist of fallen pine tree branches and amounts of glasswort (Athrocnemum sp. and Salicornia sp.) collected on the surroundings of the lagoon.
That visit brought some plentiful surprises such as the presence of one Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in the Pelicans’ Island, in the middle of a group of Dalmatian Pelicans. This is very likely the first wintering evidence for the species in the Adriatic coast of Albania. Furthermore, the visit reconfirmed the National Park as a regular wintering ground of the Great Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga). This Globally Endangered species have been regularly observed in the park during the last five years stressing thus the global importance of the National Park Divjaka-Karavasta.
The above findings highlight the fact that the ecological integrity of Divjaka National Park Karavasta should not be compromised. And our efforts to improve the current status of the endangered species and their critical habitats should therefore continue.