From: The Balkanista
Vjosa-Narta Is Thriving as Rare Migratory Bird Spotted at the Weekend

Albania’s very first Terek Sandpiper has been spotted in the country, according to the Albanian Ornithological Society.

What is a Terek Sandpiper, I hear you ask?

Otherwise known as a Xenus cinerus, the Terek Sandpiper is a small wader bird and it takes its name from the Terek River that flows into the west Caspian Sea. The bird is usually found in the area between Finland and Siberia but it is known to migrate south in the winter to Africa, South Asia and Australia.

The AOS spotted the lone bird on 30 May in the Salina of Skofotina in the protected area of Vjose-Narta. This, according to the organisation, is a perfect location for migratory birds-, especially waders.

The bird can be identified by its upwards curving beak, orange legs, small body, and differing behavior from others around it.

The AOS said that its presence in Albania is accidental and the bird should be considered a “vagrant”. This is the birdwatching word for a bird that strays from its migratory path or expected habitat. They added that they hope to see more of them in the future, as well as other rare birds.

Vjosa-Narta is a protected landscape area in southwest Albania, near the city of Vlore. It covers 194 square km and encompasses wetlands, rivers, marshlands, reed beds, woodlands, beaches, and islands.  The Vjosa that feeds into the area is considered Europe’s last wild river but is currently under threat from a government hydropower plant project.

The area is also home to some 741 species and subspecies including 32 mammals, 194 birds, 26 reptiles, 9 amphibians, 90 fish, 390 invertebrates, and 26 under threat species. Some of the most fascinating species that inhabit the area include the pelican, flamingo, golden jackal and dolphin.

AOS said that this finding once again emphasizes the importance of the Vjosa-Narta wetland as an important area for migratory birds, both in Albania and the eastern Adriatic.

This article was originally published on The Balkanista.