Counts of White-tailed Eagles at Kremenchuhske Reservoir during autumn 2010

In autumn 2010 we continued monitoring works in areas of autumn concentration of the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) at the Middle Dnieper. Results are presented below.

The counts were carried out in key territories of concentrations of these eagles. They were fishponds, sites with high numbers of waterbirds discovered by us in previous years. We controlled the ponds near the village Irkliiv (Chornobai District of Cherskasy Region), ponds between the villages Lypove – Bugaivka (Hlobine District of Poltava Region), and also shallows of Kremenchuhske Reservoir near the Lypove Ornithological Reserve. The counts were participated by Aleksandr Ilyukha, Yury Sumskoy, Nikolay Borisenko; results of one of their expeditions together with Sergey Domashevksy and Roman Vatrasevich were presented in the previous materials of the website. In a total 8 counts were done, the automobile route amounted to approx. 1000 km. In addition, the ponds near Irkliiv in October were visited by Odesa birdwatchers A.Arapov and V.Malinoshevsky who gave us a number of photos with the White-tailed Eagle.

An adult White-tailed Eagle on the drained pond, in the background you can see about 40 sitting White-tailed Eagle.

Numbers of the White-tailed Eagles were naturally raising during autumn. In September the numbers of predators in fish farms were minimal because of few quantities of drained ponds. With increasing area of these waterbodies the number of easily accessible fish also increased. The number of eagles also grew due to movements of birds which are more typical for November.

Results of counts of the White-tailed Eagles at Kremechuhske Reservoir during autumn 2010.

Site / Month September October November
Lypove Reserve 4 5 3
Ponds near Irkliiv 7 71 126
Ponds in Hlobine District 4 No counts 43
Total 15 76 172

In a total we have counted less White Eagles compared to the previous year (in November less by one third). It is linked with low numbers of these raptors on ponds in Hlobine District. In previous years there were concentrated up to 150 White-tailed Eagles, but in the autumn of 2010 we encountered a few more than 40 ind. It is because of breakdown of the fish farm – some ponds were not filled with fish, others were even drained and ploughed up to grow crops. Similar to the previous observations, the majority of the observed White-tailed Eagles were immature, they made up approx. 70%. Overall, in November the region of Kremenchuhske Reservoir supported at least 200 White-tailed Eagles.
Therefore it confirmed our concern that these eagles are getting very dependable on human economical activity. Nevertheless, large fish farms near Kremenchuhske Reserve are still important place of concentration of the White-tailed Eagles and their feeding until the wintering period.

Maxim Gavrilyuk

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