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A new species in Latvia recorded during „Battle of Towers 2013”

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus in Lake Lubans. Photo by Janis Kuze

On 19 May during the 10th birdwatching competition "Battle of Towers 2013" a new species for Latvia – Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus – was recorded. The bird was observed by team "M-ergli" (Janis Kuze, Maris Strazds and Normunds Zeidaks) in Lake Lubans.

The bird was first seen by Janis Kuze, who could not believe his eyes: "It was the moment when you know what you are looking at but it seems unreal." His team-mate Maris Strazds adds: "To acquire evidence we had to leave our tower and cross three deep ditches. We were not thinking about the result of the competition." Team "M-ergli" won the second place in the competition.

Black-winged Stilt is a wide-spread species in Africa, Asia, America and Australia, but its range in Europe reaches Belarus in north. There have been several cases of Black-winged Stilt recorded in Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Estonia, which is why already in 2005 the author of the website Agris Celmins included it in the list of the next 50 new species that can be expected in Latvia.