In the beginning of this year we addressed to the European Commission a request for SIMARINE-NATURA project end postponement. At the end of March the Commission informed us that our request had been approved. We appreciate very much this six months extension – the new project end date is now 31.8.2015. Moreover, we welcomed two representatives of the European Commission this week at DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia.
The reason for project end postponement is a delay in implementation of some crucial actions, which was caused by unexpected technical problems with the GPS telemetry devices in the action telemetry of the Mediterranean Shags. The problems have been resolved and the action will continue and will be concluded by the end of this summer. By the end of this year we already have to submit the marine IBA proposal to the BirdLife International. They will revise our proposal and eventually include the new IBAs in their inventory of marine IBAs. By this they will confirm that the areas meet the criteria to be designated as the marine Natura 2000 sites. You can find a summary of the process of identification and designation of marine Natura 2000 sites in Slovenia here.
This week we were visited by two desk-officers from the European Commission, Ms. Muriel Drukman and Ms. Päivi Rauma, who checked the technical implementation of the project SIMARINE-NATURA and its administrative and financial management. They were accompanied by Mr. Mitja Kaligarič, an external monitor for LIFE projects in Slovenia, and Mrs. Julijana Lebez-Lozej, the national coordinator of the LIFE program from the Ministry of agriculture and the environment, which is also an associated beneficiary of the project. The European desk-officers were pleased with our presentation and management of the project. Besides monitoring of project implementation, which was done in the working premises of DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia, we also visited the project area at Slovenian sea – the communal roosting sites of the Mediterranean Shags near Debeli rtič and Strunjan, and a part of Slovenian sea between the towns of Izola and Piran.
Although it is the least suitable period for observing the Mediterranean Shags at Slovenian sea right now, because they are still joyfully nesting on Croatian islands, a short boat trip which we took was inspiring. We observed imposing flysch cliffs, unique to the Trieste bay, and bursting and flowering hinterland. Besides a few young shags we met several interesting birds, e.g. a Black-throated Loon, a group of Goosanders, several Great Crested Grebes, Black-headed Gulls, Great Cormorants and an Eurasian Curlew on migration, resting on a buoy of a mussel farm near Debeli rtič. We were pleasantly surprised by a dolphin, who showed to us only for a short time on the sea surface near coast between the towns of Strunjan and Piran. We also visited the new information center and permanent exhibition of the Landscape Park Strunjan, who is our project partner, too. At the end we were welcomed in the marina of Izola by Jakomo, one of the two shags who still wear working GPS telemetry devices. Jakomo and Mihi, both too young to breed, have been staying in and around the marina since last autumn.
Author of the article: Urška Koce