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.
The Pallas’s Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) is a rare accidental species in Ukraine. By the present time only two registrations have been known. 29.05.1910 a female in the first plumage was shot in “Askania Nova” (Zubarovsky, 1977). The female at the age of about 1 year was hunted in the first decade of June 1964 in Poltava Region (Gavrilenko, 1967).
A new visit was recorded by us on 27.04.2011 during an expedition to the Orel river floodplain, at the border of the regions of Dnipropetrovsk (vicinity of Hupalovka Village, Mahdalynivka District) and Poltava (vicinity of Nekhvoroshcha Village, Novi Sanzhary District). This area is crossed by the Dnieper-Donbass Canal. Going by car along the river channel, I saw a large raptor sitting on a tree in the distance. At first I tried to scrutinize a bird in the binoculars and immediately took notice of its brownish-rusty plumage colouration. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a photo of the sitting bird. My camera was in the rucksack and while I was taking it out and stopping the car, the bird flew off the tree and I could only pictured her in flight.
A.S.Nadtochiy, Kharkiv State University named after H.S.Skovoroda
We already mentioned at our web-pages, that migration intensity of birds of prey significantly differs for various regions of Ukraine. However, numbers of migrating raptors can be also greatly impacted by weather conditions, forming migration waves. It is the phenomenon which we observed in mid-October 2011.
MIGRATION OF BIRDS OF PREY ALONG KYIV RESERVOIR
15 and 16.10.2011 we observed migration of birds of prey at one of our observation stations located to the north from the village Lebedivka (Vyshhorod district of Kyiv region) at the shore of Kyiv Reservoir. On 15 October it rained until 11 a.m., alternated with hail. Only when it stopped and the sky was getting clear, we saw single Buzzards and their pairs. Gradually, the number of birds in groups became higher, and in the afternoon the sky was full of migrating raptors.
At first, bird groups flew to the south-west, then to the south and to the end of the day the migration mass of raptors were moving to the east and south-east. The birds, which chose the latter direction, flew from the reservoir; we saw about 400 of them and for many years of observations we recorded such direction of passage for the first time. One of Buzzard’s flocks included 212 birds. Big flocks of these birds stretched for several kilometres.
We intentionally selected this territory to study migration of birds of prey. A vast area of the reservoir stretched from the north to the south makes migrating birds to keep to the left bank during their autumn passage. Thus, raptors fly around the water obstacle and form a narrow stream of migrants. Besides, after the cold spell numerous birds actively left northern territories.
We bring to your attention the first results of tracking the Saker Falcons, marked with satellite transmitters in the south of Ukraine in 2011. About the previous expedition on searching Saker’s nests and marking the birds read here.
As you probably remember from the earlier article, eight Saker’s chicks were marked in their nests, each of them got its own name.
Authors of photos: M.Gavrilyuk, M.Prommer, V.Vetrov, Yu.Milobog
The male, named «Gagarin» was marked 1 June 2011 on Kerch Peninsula. Why ‘Gagarin’? There are several reasons of it. Yury Gagarin was the first spaceman and we wanted the chick’s flight to be distant and successful, and also the name of our leading saker’s expert in Ukraine is Yury (and he was born exactly on the Cosmonautics Day). So, could we give the chick any other name? Gagarin flew out of the nest already 5 June, but not far away; 11 June he flew for the distance of 100 m. At first he was staying in the vicinity of the nest and often returned into it. About a month he was keeping within the nesting area; after 10 July extended the territory of his flight over Kerch Peninsula; on 22 June went on an eastward trip around the Sea of Azov. It took for him a total of 5 days to fly over the sea and realize that ‘east or west the Crimea is best’. From late July until now he has chosen for himself rather a limited area on Tarkhankut Peninsula and stay there (map of movements).
Results of spring counts in the alienated zone of Chornobyl Atomic Power Station (CAPS) in March 2011Sunday, June 5th, 2011 Posted in Chornobyl alienation zone, Field researches, Migrations, Photos | No Comments »
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).
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.
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.
On our webpages we repeatedly raised the question of studying migration of birds of prey using satellite telemetry. This method has pluses and minuses compared to traditional ringing, colour marking etc. The review makes an attempt to reveal, at least partly, potential opportunities of the satellite telemetry on the example of studying migrations of the Short-toed Eagle.
Some researchers and birdwatchers oppose the direct installation of satellite transmitters on birds basing on ethic reasons. Their main argument: until the absence of negative impacts is proved the method cannot be used in researches. However, it is not an easy task to receive such proofs. It would require control observations of certain types of transmitters and certain bird species and further processing of results with the use of statistical analysis to minimize as much as possible the effect of random factors. Firstly, the sample of birds should be large enough for such processing, which means installation of a lot of transmitters, secondly we must conduct parallel observations of the control bird group without transmitters attached. But exactly the latter is impossible since nowadays there are no other effective methods designed for long-term tracking of birds in their natural environment. In addition, installation and monitoring of even a single transmitter is still fairly expensive, not to mention their dozens. This fact puts restrictions on the use of this method in favour of its opponents.
In spring of 2010 we continued studies of migration features of raptors in various regions in Ukraine.
To observe migrations of birds of prey we have chosen three regions in the territory of Polissia in Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions. From 26 to 29.03.2010 investigations were carried out on Slovechansko-Ovrutskyi Ridge, located in Ovruch district of Zhytomyr region. This forest-covered ridge stretched from west to east for about 50 km, the maximum altitude is 316 m above sea level. The observations were done from two points, placed at the height about 260 m above s.l. near the villages Barvinkovo and Pokalev on abandoned agricultural lands. There, the open landscape prevails in the upper Ridge, resembling steppe areas with their gully systems. The southern wind dominated in the days of observation; the wind velocity changed from 3 to 12 m/sec. The bird passage went in eastern, north-eastern and north directions.
In addition to observations we caught raptors to mark them with rings. The captured birds were measured and weighed. Two Goshawk females, one female of Sparrowhawk and one Corvidae (Raven) have been captured. That was the period when only juvenile Goshawks migrate with mass not exceeding 1200 g. The goshawks differentiated in coloration from those, for instance, captured in the vicinity of Kyiv (these were lighter). Apparently, these birds do not relate to ‘Ukrainian’ breeding population. Unfortunately our observations got into a drop of the migration wave, so with every day there was smaller and smaller number of migratory birds. Similar picture was seen for other species of hovering birds such as White and Black Storks, Common Crane. It was registered the appearance of first migratory birds in the region – Lesser Spotted Eagle (26.03), Osprey (28.03), Short-toed Eagle (29.03). Among local birds of prey we saw only the Common Buzzard, actively displaying, and also the Goshawk.
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In recent decades the number of White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) has increased across the European range. To provide effective protection of the species there is a need to understand the biology and characteristics of distribution in all seasons. That is why in the process of study and monitoring of the White-tailed Eagle in the Middle Dnieper we paid attention to the sites of autumn concentrations of these birds.
This communication presents the results of research for the autumn 2009. To study distribution of the White-tailed Eagle we surveyed the sites, potentially attractive for feeding: shallows of Kremenchuhske Reservoir and surrounding fishponds. The total length of the automobile route was approx. 1000 km. The counts were also participated by N.Borisenko and A. Ilyuha.
In autumn White-tailed Eagles distribute unevenly in the Middle Dnieper. Adult birds in most cases remain in areas of breeding sites; frequently young birds stay with them. However, majority of immature birds concentrate in the area where feed reserves are more abundant. These are such areas as fishponds as well as shallows of reservoirs, where waterfowl concentrate. The results of counts of 2009 surpassed the number of birds observed in previous years and all of our wildest expectations.