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The Journeys of Lesser Kestrel Emma - an unusual occupant of Lukoil Neftochim Burgas AD
Recently the rare bird returned to its native colony after wintering in Africa.

Emma is a Lesser Kestrel - a rare species of falcon, which nests only in two places in our country. One of them is the production site of Lukoil Neftochim Burgas AD, where in 2014 Green Balkans located previously unknown habitat of the species. Since then, environmentalists have been working in partnership with the company for the conservation and survey of these rare birds. In 2018, Emma was tagged by Green Balkans with a satellite transmitter to trace the specifics of her life. This made her one of the first Lesser kestrels in the country (besides several birds from the colony in Sakar created by Green Balkans) equipped with a similar device. The Lesser kestrel was named Emma from the company, after one of the refinery employees's children. For Green Balkans' experts she is also known as B00 - symbols with which the specialized ring placed on the bird's leg is indicated.

After completion of the breeding season in 2018 the little falcon took its pre-migration wanderings and reached Hungary! Such a distant wandering has not yet been registered for this species in our country. Later in autumn the Lesser Kestrel headed to Africa, surprising the tracking team again, migrating through the Western Balkans. The little falcon spent the winter in Africa, in the border areas of Niger and Nigeria, where other Lesser Kestrels from the Balkan population of this species are wintering too.

And so ... after a few months spent in Africa, Emma recently returned home! In the past year, the falcon raised its generation in one of the artificial nests set up specifically for this purpose by Green Balkans on the territory of Lukoil Neftochim Burgas AD, together with company' employees. Whether this year it will once again take advantage of our hospitality is yet to be seen.

Gradimir Gradev, ‘Greater chance for Lesser Kestrel in Bulgaria’ LIFE11 NAT/BG/360 Project Manager
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