Archive for the ‘Field researches’ Category

Results of spring counts in the alienated zone of Chornobyl Atomic Power Station (CAPS) in March 2011

Sunday, June 5th, 2011 Posted in Chornobyl alienation zone, Field researches, Migrations, Photos | No Comments »

This work continues of our studies of birds of prey fauna in the alienated zone of Chornobyl Atomic Power Station.

The Chornobyl alienated zone always attracts researches with its wild surroundings almost deprived of traces of human activity, and with abundance of various groups of animals and birds. We used a chance to realize our old desire for searching Strigiformes birds in this region, and carried out counts 21 to 25.03.2011.

For this purpose we applied a well-known method of provoking owls by records of their voices. In forest sites we played voices of the Pygmy and Tengmalm’s Owls, Great Grey Owl, in open areas – those of the Eagle Owl. Records of the Tawny Owl we used only occasionally since the species is numerous in forest areas and frequently responses voices of the above-mentioned owl species.

Information on availability of owls in the alienated zone is very poor. Data on the Great Grey Owl is limited by 6 encounters, mainly in the western part of the zone (Gashchak et al. 2006; Domashevsky 2004; pers. comm. A.V. Yastremsky). A Pygmy Owl was observed in twilight at Belorus border by S.P. Gashchak 30.06.2009 (pers. comm.) In addition, there were several records of the Eagle Owl including a fledgling found nearby the atomic station (Gashchak et al. 2006).

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Results of counts of wintering birds of prey in 2011 in the Central Dnieper area

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Posted in Field researches, Photos, Wintering | No Comments »

In January-February 2011 we have carried out counts of birds of prey to monitor their numbers.

The counts covered districts of Cherkasy, Chyhyryn and Kaniv (Cherkasy region), as well as Svitlovodsk district (Kirovohrad region) and Kremenchuh district (Poltava region). Three counts were conducted in agrolandscapes using an automobile. Additive data were received during field visits and excursions in other areas and biotopes.

Results of winter counts of Falconiformes in agrolandscapes of Central Dnieper area in 2011.

Species Date / length of the route, km Total, ind.
9.01/50 24.01/57 22.02/61
Goshawk 1 1
Sparrowhawk 1 1 1 3
Rough-legged Buzzard 6 4 6 16
Common Buzzard 6 6 3 15
White-tailed Eagle 1 1
Kestrel 1 1
Number, ind./km 0,28 0,21 0,18 0,22

Generally, the number of birds of prey in the winter of 2010-2011 was extremely low. Compared with January 2009, when we conducted counts according to the same technique and approximately in the same sites, the number of Falconiformes during the current winter was 4 times lower. The total number was smaller mainly due to the Common Buzzards, which were 6 times less; the count numbers of the Rough-legged Buzzards were 3 times lower. Reduction of the Common Buzzard numbers we connect, primarily, with cold and snowy conditions of the previous winter, when there was mass mortality of these birds from starvation. We assume that a grouping of the wintering Common Buzzards, which had been formed during the last 5-6 years due to reduction of the distance of autumn movements, suffered from a significant “stroke” last winter. Although we agree with Sergey Domashevsky, that populations of raptors in Europe in the breeding season of 2010 were affected with heat and fires, which led to an extremely low breeding productivity, but there is no reason to think that it could brought about the 6 times reduction of the population of the Common Buzzard. Decline in bird numbers on wintering grounds in the Central Dnieper area is also linked with redistribution of birds within the wintering area. Also in the neighboring Kyiv region S. Domashevsky recorded low number of birds of prey during this winter. The number of hawks in our counts is not indicative, since these birds prefer not to stay in agricultural landscapes in winter.
Similar to previous years, the Common Buzzard and Rough-legged Buzzard dominated, their ratio was approximately equal. Except for main counts, the Hen Harrier was once observed. The Merlin was not recorded even once for the whole winter. Thus, we observed 7 species of Falconiformes.

Maxim Gavrilyuk, Alexandr Ilyukha, Nikolay Borisenko, Sergey Nadtochy

Counts and ringing of birds of prey in the north of Ukraine in winter 2011

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Posted in Field researches, Photos, Wintering | No Comments »

To carry out monitoring of numbers and ringing of wintering birds of prey we did 5 visits of the areas within Kyiv region in the winter of 2011.

4.01 and 20.02 we visited a dump of solid domestic waste of Kyiv, 24.02 − cattle farm, 27.02 − grain elevator in Boryspil district, and 1.03 − meadows in the vicinity of Kyiv.

On the Kyiv dump of solid domestic waste, located in Obukhiv district, we recorded a large concentration of Corvidae (Rook, Jackdaw), Yellow-legged Gulls and a small number of the Rock Dove (100 birds); overall numbers of birds exceeded 7000 ind. In spite of this, only one individual of the Goshawk was recorded during each visit which is extremely low for such concentration of its prey. The Common Buzzard turned out to be one of common species. But its numbers were not stable – 10 birds during the first visit, and 3 – during the second. There was also recorded one Sparrowhawk.

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

Sunday, January 30th, 2011 Posted in Field researches, Migrations, Photos, Video | No Comments »

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.

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Birds of prey in steppes of Russia – 2

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 Posted in Fauna, Field researches, Photos, Video | No Comments »

In a previous material we have presented the results of studies of birds of prey during the automobile trip to Orenburg for the 13th international ornithological conference. On the way back the route of our travel was changed. Observation results for birds of prey during the car expedition from Orenburg (Russia) to Luhansk (Ukraine) are presented below.

Photo: M. Gavrilyuk, V.Vetrov, E.M. Pisanets, V. Remenny

On the 4th May 2010, immediately after the conference, we left the hospitable Orenburg City and in the evening already reached a famous Buzuluk Forest (Orenburg region) where camped for the night. In the surrounding area we discovered an adult Imperial Eagle which is not unusual since the forest is known as a habitat for this species.

A pair of Steppe Eagles in their nesting site

Next morning, 5th May 2010, our team split into two groups, and afterwards went by different routes. One group composed of V. Milobog, E.M Pisanets, V. Remenny and A.Rashelevskaya, intended to reach the Ciscaucasia as fast as possible to conduct the foreseen herpetological and ornithological observations. The main purpose ofanother group including V.P. Belik, V.V. Vetrov, M.N. Gavrilyuk, E.V. Guguev, S.P. Litvinenko, A.B. Chaplygina, G.A. Yevtushenko and N.I. Konoplya was the ornithological survey in steppe areas of Volgograd and Astrakhan Regions. Below there are results of these particular observations.

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Studies of migration of birds of prey on Slovechansko-Ovruchskyi Ridge are continued (Zhytomyr Region)

Sunday, November 21st, 2010 Posted in Field researches, Migrations, Photos | 1 Comment »

We initiated the research on birds of prey migration in the eastern part of Slovechansko-Ovruchskyi Ridge at the permanent plot placed near the villages Barvinkove and Pokaliv (Ovruch District, Zhytomyr Region) at the altitude of about 260 m above sea level. In the autumn we had the opportunity to continue research in this area.

Autumn observations were carried out from 16 to 22.10.2010. Taking into account the direction of raptor autumn migration to the south, south-west and west, we chose for observations the west of the ridge at the maximum altitude of about 316 m above sea level near the villages Gorodets and Antonovychi. According to our estimation, at the westernmost point of the ridge we expected to see the birds migrating to the south-west and west directions and were focused at the ridge, stretched from east to west. With different wind directions the terrain and changes of altitudes were to play a significant role in movements of birds of prey. The area where we made observations was represented by steep wooded ravines and sites open on the flattened terrain: arable lands, hay fields and pastures.

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Results of Ukrainian-Slovac expedition to the north of Ukraine

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 Posted in Field researches, Monitoring, Photos | No Comments »

25.07 − 1.08.2010 it took place the joint expedition of the Ukrainian Birds of Prey Research Centre and Slovak ornithologists, directed at studying raptors in the north of Ukraine.

Our guests was Miroslav Dravecky – coordinator on the Lesser Spotted Eagle in Slovakia, Miroslav Lehocky – expert on birds of prey, staff-worker of the Slovak Paradise National Park, Milan Oleksak – a representative of the Ringing Centre “Drienovec”, located at the territory of the Slovak Karst National Park.

Photo by M.Dravecky, S.Domashevsky

The Slovak colleagues were interested to observe very rare species for their country – Short-toed Eagle и Booted Eagle. At the present time in Slovakia breeds only one pair of the Short-toed Eagles, living in the eastern part of the country, while the Booted Eagle disappeared on breeding. Therefore we decided to visit Polissia where the Short-toed Eagle is distributed rather widely and, if possible, to come to the south of the forest-steppe zone for our guests to have chance of seeing the Booted Eagle. For Ukrainian ornithologists, this expedition gave the opportunity to monitor already known pairs of birds of prey and receive new data on their distribution.

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Research on the population status of birds of prey in the alienated zone of the Chornobyl Atomic Power Station in summer 2010

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 Posted in Chornobyl alienation zone, Fauna, Field researches, Monitoring, Photos | No Comments »

During June-July 2010 we have three times traveled to the alienated zone of the Chornobyl Atomic Power Station (CAPS), which noticeably added to our knowledge of raptors in this area. A number of visits had been also taken before, to study wintering fauna of Falconiformes.

Two visits in the alienated zone of CAPS have been associated with our participation in shooting a documentary movie about nature and self-settled people in the alienated zone. Therefore, materials on birds during these visits were collected along the way, although they gave good results. From 5 to 08.07.2010, this area has been surveyed to determine distribution and numbers of birds of prey.

We used the methodology of point census. Working in open areas where raptors are well- visible, we did counts with the optics at fixed points for a certain period of time. We recorded flying and hunting birds. Thus, we have partly examined a central section of the Uzh river valley, some of the reclaimed areas, abandoned farmlands and meadows. Birds of prey were also recorded during our movements. It has been also surveyed by vessel the section downstream from Chornobyl through the Pripyat river delta to the confluence with Kyiv Reservoir and in the opposite direction. Taking into account meanders of the river, the distance of the journey by vessel was about 60 km. Within the zone, we investigated the area of Ivankovo Region and only few areas of Polissia Region. We didn’t survey large forest stands of the north-western part of the alinetated zone – Polissia Region.

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Birds of prey in steppes of Russia

Monday, August 9th, 2010 Posted in Field researches, Monitoring, Photos | 2 Comments »

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.

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Results of counts of birds of prey in the Zdvyzh

Monday, August 9th, 2010 Posted in Field researches, Monitoring, Photos | No Comments »

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