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Lebanese Republic

Dessert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti ©Nigel Blake Website

Lebanon, officially the Republic of Lebanon, is a country in Western Asia, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. It is close to Cyprus through the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon is located in Western Asia. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west along a 225-kilometre (140 mi) coastline, by Syria to the east and north, and by Israel to the south. The Lebanon-Syria border stretches for 375 kilometres (233 mi) and the Lebanon-Israel border for 79 kilometres (49 mi). The border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Syria is disputed by Lebanon in a small area called Shebaa Farms, but the border has been demarcated by the United Nations.

Most of Lebanon's area is mountainous terrain, except for the narrow coastline and the Beqaa Valley, which plays an integral role in Lebanon's agriculture.

Lebanon has a moderate Mediterranean climate. In coastal areas, winters are generally cool and rainy whilst summers are hot and humid. In more elevated areas, temperatures usually drop below freezing during the winter with frequent, sometimes heavy snow; summers are warm and dry. Although most of Lebanon receives a relatively large amount of rainfall annually (compared to its arid surroundings), certain areas in north-eastern Lebanon receive little due to the high peaks of the western mountain front blocking much of the rain clouds that originate over the Mediterranean Sea.

In ancient times, Lebanon housed large forests of the Cedars of Lebanon, which now serve as the country's national emblem. However, centuries of trading cedar trees, used by mariners for boats, and the absence of any efforts to replant them have depleted the country's once-flourishing cedar forests.

Top Sites

Aammiq Marshes Lebanon

Information

Satellite View

The Aammiq Marshes lie in the Beka'a Valley in the centre of the country to the east of the capital, Beirut. This swamp is the largest and most important wetland area between Turkey and Israel and despite hunting and habitat loss remains the most important site for wetland birds in Lebanon. Early in the year the marshes can flood to nearly 300ha with meltwater from the mountains but by autumn they may be completely dry. Conservation programmes carried out in the marshes in recent years have involved returning some of the land loss to agriculture back into marshland. Surrounding the wetland are areas of rough grazing, cultivated land, drainage ditches, and an avenue of trees, all adding to the diversity of habitats in the area. On the nearby mountain slopes, small wooded areas and rocky shrubland give an even greater variety of habitats and species. Behind the nearby village of Aammiq is a woodland where Scops Owl and Syrian Woodpecker can be found. In spring and summer, shrubby hillsides are home to Great Spotted Cuckoo, various buntings, wheatears, warblers and shrikes, and rocky gorges host Rock Nuthatch and perhaps still Eagle Owl…

Palm Islands Natural Preserve

Information

Satellite View

The Palm islands park is a unique and integrated natural marine basin in the eastern Mediterranean that was declared as a reserve in 1993. Its surface area is about 5 Km2. This maritime park lies 11 kms north-west off the shores of el-Mina in Tripoli. These flat rocky islands include the Palm (or Rabbit) island, Sanani island, and Ramkine (or Fanar) island. The islands are chosen as nesting sites by 10 species of migrant birds, including: Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern, Sand Martin, Little Crested Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Black-Winged Stilt, etc. The islands has 24 recorded species of winter-visiting fowl, including: Manx & Cory`s Shearwater, Peregrine, Little Stint, Redshank, Marsh Hawk, White-Tailed Eagle, etc.. Visitors include: Ruff, Snowy plover, White-Winged Black Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Tern, Osprey, Ruddy Turnstone, Sociable Plover, Sanderling, Gull-Billed Tern, Pied Avocet, etc..

Contributor

Wikipedia

GNU Free Documentation License

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 369

Useful Reading

Birds of Lebanon and the Jordan Area

by Vere Benson 8 colour plates. B/w drwgs, map, 218pp. 1970.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2011 [10 October] - Benoît Forget

Report

…There is a spring and pond on this walk (Ain Lejje) which is a great attraction for birds (Sombre Tit included). Syrian Woodpecker is lower down on this walk in 'Skaff Woods' just above the village of Aammiq. However, you either need 2 cars, or someone to drop you up near Col de Kefraya to do this lovely walk….

2008 [03 March] - Richard Prior

Report

April to early May is the best period for witnessing spring migration in full swing, but Easter being early this year meant our trip to Lebanon had to fall on the above dates, luckily, the weather was actually better than when I did my April 2007 visit, and, despite spending time sightseeing, socialising and shopping, we clocked up a good total and visited some sites for the first time.

Organisations

BirdLife

Website

So far, 134 species have been recorded breeding in Lebanon. Only 110 breed regularly, the rest being either occasional or former breeders. Of the 110 regular breeders, 56 are exclusively residents (i.e. their populations remain within Lebanon) such as Sparrow, Palm Dove, Yellow-legged Gull, Graceful Warbler, Bulbul, Chukar, Long-legged Buzzard. 54 are exclusively summer breeders (i.e. winter elsewhere but breed in Lebanon) such as Turtle Dove, Pallid Swift, Swallow, Red-backed Shrike, White Wagtail.

Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon

Website

SPNL strives to conserve biodiversity for the provision of a better quality of life through sustaining sites, habitats, species and people - Hima literally means “a protected place”. BirdLife International in the Middle East, led by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL, BirdLife Partner), is now reviving hima in the region. The goal is to mesh these wise traditional practices with recent conservation science in order to achieve sustainable development…

Reserves

List of Wetlands of International Importance

Webpage

Lebanon currently has 4 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1,075 hectares.

Protected areas of Lebanon

Information

Written records dating back 5000 years indicate that forests covered most of Lebanon. Today less than 7% of the country is forested, and what remains of its flora and fauna are under threat. To reverse this trend, the Lebanese government is developing a system of protected areas that link nature conservation with sustainable human development. A project has been conducted by a co-operation between the ministries of Environment and Agriculture with other national and international organizations…

Palm Islands Natural Preserve - Tripoli

Webpage

Satellite View

The Palm islands park is a unique and integrated natural marine basin in the eastern Mediterranean that was declared as a reserve in 1993. Its surface area is about 5 Km2 (1.4 x 1.08 nautical miles). This maritime park lies 6 nautical miles (11 Km) north-west off the shores of el-Mina in Tripoli (Latitudes: 34d 29m - 34d 30m 30s N and Longtitudes 35d 44m 30s - 35d 47m E). These flat rocky islands include the Palm (or Rabbit) island, Sanani island, and Ramkine (or Fanar) island…

Aammiq Wetland

Information

Satellite View

The Aammiq Wetland is the most significant remaining freshwater wetland in Lebanon, a remnant of much more extensive marshes and lakes that once existed in the Bekaa Valley. It has been designated an Important Bird Area in the Middle East (Birdlife International, 1994) and is included in the Directory of Wetlands in the Middle East (IUCN, 1995). The Aammiq Wetland lies on one of the most important bird migration routes in the world, and over 250 species of bird have been recorded in the area, including the globally vulnerable Great Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, and Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni. Records of globally near-threatened bird species in the area include Great Snipe Gallinago media, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca and Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus

Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve

Website

Located in Keserwan-Jbeil area, Lebanon, surrounded by Nahr Ibrahim and Nahr Ed-Dahab rivers, and located 50 km away from the capital Beirut, Jabal Moussa was designated in 2009 as the third biosphere reserve in Lebanon as part of the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves

Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve

Website

Satellite View

Noura Jumblatt has been awarded the Forest for Kyoto Prize by the Italian Environment Ministry for her extensive ecological efforts in the Chouf. The prize, named after the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and improvement, entitles Jumblatt to select an area in Lebanon where the Italian government will plant a new forest…

Other Links

Checklist

Website

This is a list of birds recorded in the Lebanon…

Hunting in Lebanon

Website

For over three years, hunting has been totally banned in Lebanon. The ban came after a prolonged struggle between the government on one side, and the hunters, gun shops (especially in Shtoura), and gunshot manufacturers on the other side. It finally took effect in January 1995. By August 1995, when I visited Lebanon, the difference was already noticeable in both the peaceful countryside and the chattering of large numbers of birds.