Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

The International Expedition in Eastern Kazakhstan Region (Balkhash Аrea). Part 3.

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 Posted in Fauna, Field researches, Photos | No Comments »

This post finishes a story about the scientific expedition to Kazakhstan in 2011. Part 1 is available here, Part 2 is here. The period of observations covers the middle of the third decade of May to the middle of the third decade of June

In the third decade of May the Nightjars were already actively displaying. In the evenings a pair of these birds constantly hunted in the camp area, attracted by a huge number of various insects circling in the light of electric lamps. Often, when returned late to the camp, we saw Nightjars well visible in the headlights of the car.

Photo by S.Domashevsky, May-June 2011.

Once, crossing the bridge across the Ayaguz river, we disturbed a group of White Pelicans. One of these birds had eaten so much fish that couldn’t fly off. To lift in the air it had to regurgitate its catch and only after that was able to fly away. The catch mainly consisted of minnows and some Caspian roaches. There were 395 fishes, with a total weight of 3.2 kg. Fresh and brackish lakes always were full of active bird life. In this period we could observe there up to 8 species of ducks and 13 species of waders.
Some nests of the Long-legged Buzzards were occupied by several pairs of Indian Sparrows. Their nests, similar to those in Ukraine, located among large twigs of the raptor’s construction or were stuck as balls at the margin of interlacement of lower branches of the big nest. Some rocky outputs were occupying with colonies of Rosy Starlings, some of them include over 2,000 birds.

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The International Expedition in Eastern Kazakhstan Region (Balkhash Аrea). Part 2.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 Posted in Fauna, Field researches, Photos | No Comments »

This post continues a story about the scientific expedition to Kazakhstan in 2011. Part 1 is available to read here.

The middle of the first decade of May was marked with appearance of first Rosy Starlings. And the Lesser Short-toed Lark and Calandra Larks had first fledglings which become easy and accessible prey for raptors. Just at that period, we began finding first broods of the Houbara Bustard and saw displaying Asian Sparrowhawks in the river valleys of Bakanaska and Ayaguz. During daily field visits it was recorded an increasing number of migratory Sparrowhawks, Merlins, Hobby Falcons, Honey Buzzards and Crested Honey Buzzards. Sites of concentration of rodent colonies (sousliks, Libyan jirds) accumulated immature or not yet started breeding Steppe Eagles, Imperial Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard and Pallid Harriers. First chicks of Long-legged Buzzards started appearing in the nests in the late first and early second decade of May. The Quail could be already seen in mass numbers, and we often observed Pallid Harriers hunting these small Gallinaceae birds.

Photo by S. Domashevsky, May 2011.

On the river Ayaguz (flowing into Lake Balkhash) water levels began dropping and bars with rapid waters accumulated small fish species rising to spawn. It has lead to concentration of immature Black Storks (13 birds) and White Pelicans (about 200 individuals), as well as dozens of Yellow-legged and Great Black-headed Gulls, Comon Terns. In mid-May we found Great Bustard chicks aged 2-3 days. The plains and valleys of the rivers were full of small passerine birds migrating northward. Just in the river valleys there were found nesting Montagu’s Harriers, and their males often fly away to hunt at the distance up to 5 km from their nesting sites. Lesser Kestrels in the early third decade of May incubated full clutches. Their nests were located in the chimneys of destroyed buildings of an abandoned village. At the beginning of the third decade of May in a saxaul wood there it was revealed the Short-toed Eagle’s nest, located at the height of about two meters, where the female was incubating the full clutch – 1 egg. Our Hungarian colleague, Gabor Papp, birds of prey expert, was lucky to see a young Pallas’s Fish Eagle, which is now extremely rare in Kazakhstan.

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The International Expedition in Eastern Kazakhstan Region (Balkhash Аrea)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 Posted in Fauna, Field researches, Photos | No Comments »

During April – June 2011 I had the opportunity to conduct ornithological fieldworks in Kazakhstan. The expedition was organized under support of the International Fund for for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) and participated by representatives of France, UAE, Morocco, India, China, Africa, Hungary, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Great Britain. The main objective was to study the Houbara Bustard (Chlamydotis undulate). At the same time it was collected material for other species of birds. This essay presents the results of observations conducted 14-17 April, and a series of photographs for the first month of the expedition.

Photo by S. Domashevsky, mid April – first decade of May, 2011

On the 1st of April, 2011 the swift-winged Boeing in 4.5 hours took me from the International Borispol Airport (Ukraine) to the airport of Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), than it was additional 3.5 hours of waiting and one-hour flight to Shymkent (South Kazakhstan Region). From the airplane window it could be seen snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan, plain and hilly steppes. Waiting for the arrival of other members of the expedition and setting of the good weather in the eastern part of Kazakhstan, I had to spend 2 weeks in the city. Not to lose time, we conducted ornithological observations with our Belarusian colleagues around the city and in its parks.

On the 14th of April, the procession consisting of 16 crossover vehicles and 10 trailers set off. For 3 days we drove 1440 km, saw a variety of steppe landscapes and mountains, went along the Alatau in 100 km from the Chinese border, and only when it got dark arrived in the Ayaguz district of Eastern Kazakhstan Region.

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International expedition to study the Saker Falcon in the south of Ukraine

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 Posted in Field researches, Photos, Satellite telemetry | No Comments »

31.05-6.06.2011 a joint Ukrainian-Hungarian-Romanian expedition trip to study the Saker Falcon in the south of Ukraine was carried out. The main purpose was to mark Saker’s chicks with satellite transmitters to investigate their It is the first project in Ukraine dedicated to satellite telemetry of birds of prey.

Photo: M.Prommer, M.Gavrilyuk, V.Vetrov, H.Torok

As we wrote in the previous material, the project aimed at protection and study of the Saker Falcon has been implemented in countries of Eastern Europe since 2007. One of its directions is studying migration of these raptors using satellite telemetry. Generally, over the period 2007-2010 our colleagues marked over 30 Saker Falcons. It was found out that young birds widely roamed over the steppe zone of Eastern Europe: thus, birds born in Hungary often visited the territory of Ukraine. It has lead to the idea of marking birds in Ukraine as well.

Hungarian ornithologists supplied us with 9 satellite transmitters, for which we are sincerely grateful to the project manager Jozsef Fidloczky, and to Saker experts from Bükk National Park Directorate and MME/BirdLife Hungary. Participants of the expedition were Yury Milobog, Maxim Gavrilyuk, Vitaly Vetrov, Vladimir Strigunov, Matyas Prommer (MME/BirdLife Hungary), Hunor Török (Bükk National Park Directorate, Hungary), Szilárd Daróczi (Milvus Group, Romania).
Preliminary, it was planned to mark Saker’s chicks in several regions of Ukraine to clarify differences in directions of their further migration. Besides, we intended marking birds which nest in different places – on cliffs, power line poles and clay precipices (in case of they survive until their first breeding we will be able to find out their fidelity in selection nesting sites).

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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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