Redenhall man’s Africa trip to help migrating birds

Former Halreston Primary School Headteacher, Roger Walsh has just returned from Gambia where he help

Former Halreston Primary School Headteacher, Roger Walsh has just returned from Gambia where he helped conservation projects with bird ringing and other bird community projects. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

He's only just returned from his sixth visit to west Africa but former Harleston Primary School headteacher Roger Walsh is already planning trips in November and next February.

Roger Walsh, former Harleston Primary headteacher, has just come back from west Africa where he has

Roger Walsh, former Harleston Primary headteacher, has just come back from west Africa where he has helped conservation projects - including ringing birds and building community projects. - Credit: Supplied

The 57-year-old, from Redenhall, near Harleston, is the vice-chairman of the Kartong Bird Observatory (KBO) which aims to improve public awareness and understanding of the environmental and economic benefits of biodiversity conservation in Gambia.

A bird enthusiast since his teens, Mr Walsh, who also rings birds, hopes to learn why the numbers of certain birds that migrate to Africa in the winter are falling.

During his three weeks in the village of Kartong, Mr Walsh taught Gambians to conserve their habitat and helped those who wanted to develop their bird watching skills.

Mr Walsh said: 'To be frank, their birds are our birds. The birds travel from western Europe, fly over the Sahara Desert and get to places like west Africa.

'There has been a decline in the numbers of birds such as turtledoves and nightingales. We're studying if their habitat is being chopped down and we're trying to provide data for the future.

'Half a dozen local teenagers are employed by us and are trained how to understand better the principals of conservations and the values of their birds.'

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Mr Walsh, who has been married to his wife Linda for 10 years, said a link to Harleston Primary School has also helped out the Gambians.

He said: 'Harleston Primary School was keen to support the village and the children have made donations which have bought first aid supplies to take out.

'I was keen to introduce nature to the children and an understanding of how their lives are different to others.'

He added: 'It is the most amazing country and they are the most amazing people. They have nothing but you can't walk past a Gambian without them saying 'hi, how are you?''

For more information about the KBO, visit http://www.kartongbirdobservatory.org/