As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 30 June 2017

An Afghan bird refuge comes back to life after decades of neglect

By PAMELA CONSTABLE | The Washington Post | Published: June 25, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — Just south of the Afghan capital, on a busy road lined with car repair shops, goat corrals and garbage pits, a narrow lane opens unexpectedly onto a small natural wonder — a picturesque, nearly hidden marsh that is known only to a few Afghans and inhabited only by migratory birds and several families of wild dogs.

The 470-acre site, known as Kol-e-Hashmat Khan, is one of the rare recognized wetland areas in central Afghanistan. Once it drew wealthy sightseers and royal hunting parties, but during four decades of war and turmoil it lay abandoned and neglected. The water filled with sludge, unauthorized settlements sprang up around the edges, and fewer birds stopped to rest or breed in the desiccated marsh.

Now, an ambitious effort to clean up and restore the site, launched several years ago by the Afghan government and local civic groups with support from the U.N. Environmental Program, is starting to bear fruit. Water from the nearby Logar River has been diverted with sandbags, and new reed growth has attracted an increasing number and variety of birds.


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