Counts of White-tailed Eagles at Kremenchuhske Reservoir in autumn 2011

May 22nd, 2012 Posted in Field researches, Migrations, Photos

In autumn 2011 we proceeded monitoring of autumn concentration sites of the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) at the Middle Dnieper. Results are presented below. Results of the year 2009 please see here, за 2010 год – here.

Counts were conducted in key concentration sites of these eagles: at fishponds and other areas with high bird numbers which we had revealed in previous years. We monitored ponds near the town of Irkliiv (Chornobaiv district of Cherkasy region), ponds between the villages of Lypove-Chervona Sloboda (Cherkasy district), territory of Kremenchuhske Reservoir adjacent to the ponds, and the reservoir shallows near Lypovsky Ornithological Zakaznik (sanctuary). Each site we visited at least once a month, in Lypovsky Zakaznik counts were taken 2-3 times a month, and in case of repeated counts the table below reflects maximum numbers of these birds during the month.

Photo by P.Vatrasevich, N.Borisenko

We conducted a total of 15 counts, the automobile route comprised approximately 1,100 km. Also, in November 2011, Irkliiv ponds were visited by Roman Vatrasevich intending to take photos of the White-tailed Eagles. His beautiful pictures were used in this material.

Similar to previous years, numbers of the White-tailed Eagle were naturally growing during autumn. In September the White-tailed Eagles rather equally disperse along the reservoir not forming large concentrations. However, when water in the ponds is drained the quantity of available prey is growing and the eagles are gathering near ponds. Numbers of these raptors are also rising because of November movements from other regions. (Table).


Results of White-tailed Eagles counts at Kremenchuhske Reservoir in autumn 2011

Site / month September October November
Lypovskyi Zakaznik 1 6 31
Ponds near Irkliiv 2 44 103
Ponds in Globyne district 2 (1) No counts 44 (22)
Ponds in Cherkasy district No counts 2 1 (2)
Total 6 52 203

Note: figures in brackets indicate numbers of the White-tailed Eagles, recorded at the pond adjacent to Kremenchuhske Reservoir.

Numbers of the White-tailed Eagles were very similar to those of the previous year in all key sites. In 2011 we have registered maximum numbers of the White-tailed Eagles in Lypovsky Ornithological Zakaznik for all years of studies. Similar to the previous year, numbers of these eagles on ponds of Globyne district was small due to the decline of fish farms. In particular, three large ponds are used to grow agricultural crops; another pond is abandoned and overgrown with grass-bushy vegetation. At the same time, a part of the eagles stays at Sulskyi Bay of Kremenchuhske Reservoir near ponds. Similar to the two previous years, maximum eagle numbers were recorded at ponds near Irkliiv.

Thus, large fish farms in the vicinity of Kremenchuhske Reservoir remain to be an important area of the eagle concentration and feeding during autumn until the winter period.

M.Gavrilyuk, A.Ilyukha, N.Borisenko, Yu.Sumskoy, A.Korobko.