Champions of the Flyway 2016 – blog 7

bigA few final thoughts on the Champions of the Flyway event:

  • It was a great experience and a privilege to be there – I’ll remember the birds (some of them) for a long time, but it will be the people I’ll remember for ever.
  • Seeing scores of Israeli children taking part in the bird race was just fantastic
  • Our team raised a lot of money which will help combat illegal bird killing in Greece – I’m pleased to have been part of that
  • The ethos of this event links birding, competitive birding, with bird conservation – these aren’t entirely natural bedfellows. I’m more perplexed by birders who don’t really care about nature conservation than I am by conservationists who can’t distinguish a Long-legged Buzzard from a Steppe Buzzard.
  • The event takes place in Israel each year and the cause is to raise money to combat illegal bird killing somewhere in the Mediterranean each year – the Israeli organisers did a spectacularly wonderful job.  A week after the event I still want to thank them all.
  • Should I have gone to Israel or should I have boycotted the event as a political protest? It’s a pity that this year there was no Palestine team taking place but I understand that was because of a decision by the Palestinian government – if they are willing to support the event then I certainly am.  By the way, I was a drain on the finances of the state of Israel whilst taking part.
  • If we had all contributed our air fares and other costs to the cause we would have raised more money – but that’s not how the world works.
  • Thank you to my team mates, David Callahan, Mike Alibone and Andy Clements, for making it such a treat – and to Dominic Mitchell for asking me to take part in the Birdwatch-Birdguides Roadrunners team.

The event is over – but the cause goes on! Please consider topping up our fundraising pot here. Thank you for all contributions.

Previous blogs:

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6.

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5 Replies to “Champions of the Flyway 2016 – blog 7”

  1. Thanks Mark. Yes, it’s a job to know one buzzard from another.
    It’s also hard to understand why the Palestinian government decided against allowing participation.
    Think of the wonders of ‘people watching’ (as well as the birding) that would have allowed.
    But is there more to this than meets the eye?

  2. Had you and all the other overseas participants boycotted the event as a political protest I don't believe it would have made any difference at all to Israeli policy in the occupied territories but it would have harmed the event and the good cause it was in aid of. Sanctions and boycotts can be important in effecting change but they can also harm the innocent without achieving anything useful.

    1. Agree.
      What's important here is to know the reasons for the decision for Palestinians not to take part. Sport, art and science are vital for reconciliation and peace.


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