Bringing 'em back from the dead...
Regular readers will remember Dr. Phil Round who periodically visits us for some mist netting and general ornithology - his visits have made my little bird-list look rather more robust.
I saw this in the Bangkok Post yesterday, not sure which was the greater achievement, discovering a long thought extinct bird in the marshes of the Thai gulf or getting an ornithological story onto the front page of a Thai (albeit English language) newspaper.
Congratulations all round (no pun intended).
'Extinct' bird found in Gulf of Thailand
A bird presumed to have been extinct for well over 100 years has been rediscovered in a pristine coastal wetland in Petchaburi, on the Gulf of Thailand. The large-billed reed warbler (Acrocephalus orinus) had not been seen since 1867, when a single bird of the species was reported in the northwest of India, a prominent ornithologist said yesterday.
Philip Round, a lecturer from Mahidol University's department of biology, said his team spotted and trapped the bird on March 27 last year at the royally-initiated Laem Phak Bia Environment Research and Development Project in Petchaburi province.
It took about a year to confirm that the bird was the large-billed reed warbler.
''We collected two feathers from the bird for DNA tests and the result showed that it perfectly matched the DNA of the 139-year-old specimen kept at the British Museum,'' said Mr Round.
The large-billed reed warbler was found nesting in grass filter beds used for sewage treatment.
The bird is small, brown and mostly unmarked. It weighs 9.5 grammes, and is 18 centimetres in length. The bird was released unharmed after the ornithological team finished the examination.
''We never dreamed for a minute that we would rediscover a presumed-extinct species,'' said Mr Round, who has worked in bird conservation and research in Thailand for decades.
He called on the government to protect the ecological system of the inner Gulf, which is recognised as one of the world's most important bird habitats.
PS. The picture is stolen from the Bangkok Post website and is credited to the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand.
PPS. The piece in the print version of the newspaper was longer and rather more detailed.