Friday, 31 May 2019


Had an exciting start to 2019 with a 10 week working trip to Albania. I was working on the Adriatic coast to the East of Fier. My work responsibilities included marine fauna mitigation on a pipeline project both on the shore and in shallow water coastal areas. Naturally I was able to do a spot of birding during my coffee and lunch breaks and for more extended spells when work was interrupted by bad weather (Sea state challenges). My early days were spent familiarising myself with the littoral zone where I was fortunate to get regular and exceedingly nice views of Water Pipits, Crested Larks and Black Redstarts.

Crested Lark

Water Pipit

Black Redstart

Albania is what I would describe as a developing country- many aspects of the country appear to be living in the shadow of the former communist regime. Some aspects of the country are rapidly modernising in terms of infrastructure although considerable poverty still exists within some sections of the populace. I admit to having a slightly negative, almost sinister view of Albania before my visit but this was ill conceived, with the people proving helpful and welcoming to visitors. The scenery is often spectacular, the food lovely and the fauna and flora exciting and diverse. The language can be challenging but Italian is widely understood and English becoming increasingly used in the larger cities and transport hubs. In short, a lovely country and well worth a visit. 

Beautiful blue light on the Adriatic coast
Dawn over Fier
Hunting Marsh Harrier with a stunning mountain backdrop

In addition to the avifauna, Albania has an impressive species diversity with regard to butterflies, moths, plants, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. I would highly recommend a visit by any adventurous amateur and professional naturalist. 
Hummingbird Hawkmoth on Rosemary.

Albanian water frog
Dalmatian Pelican

Zitting Cisticola