25-30 April 2010 a group of Ukrainian and Russian ornithologists, traveling by car on the route Luhansk (Ukraine) – Orenburg (Ukraine) to participate in the ХІІІ International Ornithological Conference have collected data on distribution and numbers of birds of prey. They are presented below.
Photo by M.Gavrilyuk, V.Vetrov, E.M.Pisanets, V.Remenny
Experts of different profile traveled by three cross-country vehicles. They were ornithologists V.P.Belik (Rostov-on-Don, Russia), V.V.Vetrov (Luhansk, Ukraine), M.Gavrilyuk (Cherkasy, Ukraine), S.P.Litvinenko (Luhansk), Yu.V.Milobog (Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine), A.B.Chapyhina (Kharkiv, Ukraine); batrachologists E.M.Pisanets, V.Remenny (both from Kyiv, Ukraine); entomologist G.Yevtushenko, botanist N.I.Konoplya (both from Luhansk); student A.Rashelevskaya (Kryvyi Rih). Three of them were doctors and four candidates of science (PhD). In spite of different inerests of the expedition members, a particular attention in the travel was paid to observation of birds of prey.
The travel in the territory of Russia crossed Rostov, Volgograd, Saratov, Samara and Orenburg regions (map). Undoutedly, having passed 2000 km for 6 days, it was hard to collect detail information. Moreover, a part of the valuable time was spent on customs, searching for roads (as a famous writer Gogol’ spoke the roads are one of two main griefs of Russia) and other unforeseen circumstances. However, even in these conditions we managed to get a general image of composition and distribution of birds of prey in steppes of South Russia.
Totally for the period of trip we observed 18 species of Falconiformes and 3 species of Owls. Above all we noticed unequal distribution and numbers of rare species of birds of prey.
To investigate distribution and numbers of birds of prey in Polissia we have recently completed studies in the Zdvyzh river valley.
The river of Zdvizh is a right tributary of the Teteriv River (the Dnieper Basin). Its source is in Brusyliv district of Zhytomyr region. Further river crosses Makarivka, Borodianka and Ivankiv districts of Kyiv region. The length of the river is 145 km. The valley is trapezoidal, the width equals up to 4 km. The floodplain in the upper reaches is boggy with width up to 1 km. The riverbed is moderately winding, up to 20 m wide. Two reservoirs and a network of ponds have been built to regulate the water flow. The river is canalized for a long distance.
Works to study birds of prey in the Zdvyzh valley were started in 2006. Investigations were carried out by point counts. The observers spent 1 hour or more at observation points. The distance between points of observation ranged 3 or more km, depending on the possibility of a convenient entrance to them by car. It was worked out 27 points. According to the methodology, all species of birds of prey were registered, the data put on the map with a scale of 1:200000. Thus, we have examined all the river length.
As the river valley is visited for hunting by many species of birds of prey nesting in the nearby forests, such registrations can give interesting results. It was observed 6 species of raptors listed in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
In total we recorded 13 species of birds of prey in the following numbers (pairs): Honey Buzzard − 4; Black Kite − 2; Common Buzzard − 54; Marsh Harrier− 23; Montagu’s Harrier − 19; Goshawk − 4; Sparrowhawk − 2; Short-toed Eagle − 5−6; Lesser Spotted Eagle − 11; White-tailed Eagle − 1; Common Kestrel − 6; Hobby Falcon − 9.
Thus, the Buzzard dominated among birds of prey. It should be noted a sufficiently high number of Montagu’s Harrier and Lesser Spotted Eagle, included in the Red Data Book of Ukraine.
Also of interest is a record of one individual of the Long-legged Buzzard at the source of the river (Brusyliv district of Zhytomyr region). The type of stay of this species is unknown.
Sergey Domashevsky, Vasily Kostyushin, Konstantin Pysmennyi
This time the border between Europe and Asia gathered more than 200 ornithologists from the CIS countries. Compared with previous similar conferences in Kazan and Stavropol, it was participated by less number of ornithologists, as the meeting was held in the middle of the field season and Orenburg is a rather distant place to reach for most ornithologists. Nevertheless, it is nice to note that this international conference was attended by 13 ornithologists from Ukraine.
As for the conference structure, each day began with a plenary reports, and then it was held parallel work of several sections. Reports were heard on 15 sections, and, in addition, some reports were presented as posters. It was also a series of round-table discussions. To organize such a large-scale conference is a big job, and we would like to thank all the organizers, and above all a well-known birds of prey expert Anatoly Davygora. Among other positive aspects of the conference organization we would like to mention that all the information was placed at the website of Menzbir Ornithological Society. The original idea was daily broadcasting of the proceedings by students journalists, who prepared wonderful multimedia presentations and demonstrate them in-between sessions. Very convenient for the participants was the organization of daily sightseeing tours. And a special appeal of Orenburg were field trips offered in several variants and enjoyed by many participants.
Below we would like to pay a particular attention to presentations on the birds of prey. Read the rest of this entry »