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Hello everyone, I have had the incredible privilege of being a research assistant for a month in Krka National Park in Croatia. It has been the experience of a lifetime as it has helped widen my skill set, expanded my horizons and made me feel more self-confident.


All the staff have been incredible and I have been able to make so many wonderful friends. It is so exhilarating to be constantly surrounded by people who all share a passion for conservation and making the world a better place. Due to Krka being a unique region I have been able to get involved with an array of surveys from a variety of flora and fauna. After doing a fortnight of rotating between the different research teams, we were able to choose a taxonomic group to specialise in, I chose birds.

Photo by Dusan Jelic


When I was on the birds’ team, we often had to leave early in the morning at around 4:30am as birds are very loud and lively during dawn chorus. I loved being able to witness the beautiful sunrise every morning. We regularly did a visual and acoustic point count on different transects. This is where we stopped at different sites along the transect and recorded what bird species we visually saw and heard. We also recorded what direction we thought the call/song was coming from, the number of individuals and estimated the distance. I found it quite challenging to distinguish between the different birds calls but it is a skill I am keen to develop further.


For the mist net surveys we often needed one afternoon to set them up, so they were ready for us to open the following morning to try and catch some birds. Then one of the survey leaders would extract them and then they are able to be marked/ringed and we could then take some measurements. This included identifying the species, sexing them, attempting to age them by looking at the feathers, measuring the bill, tarsus and wing length and weighing them. The aim of these surveys is to investigate population density and species diversity across the various sites.

Photo by Ethelbert Duca


I was also grateful for the opportunity to do a Bee-eaters nesting survey one evening. I have been able to observe multiple species for the first time such as Hoopoes, Eurasian golden orioles and Hawfinches (pictured below). One final highlight was under the close supervision of survey leaders Frank and Wouter, I was able to extract some birds from the mist net for the first time. This expedition has allowed me to realise that I have a true passion for ornithology!


Photo by Raman Nijiar

Title photo by L Crowley

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