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.
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.
From 25 January to 1st February founders of UBPRC took part in the Bustard census organized by the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station (http://ornitology.narod.ru) in zonal landscapes of South Ukraine. At the same time the data were collected on distribution and numbers of birds of prey.
Our team has covered with counts the following regions of the Crimea: Dzhankoy, Krasnohvardiiske, Nyzhn’ohirskyi, Bilohirsk and Simferopol. A car ‘Niva’ was used for investigations. A total length of transects equaled to 1300 km.
Weather conditions during fieldwork were not quite typical for the Crimea. According to information of local people, there was almost no frost in the steppe Crimea until the second decade of January. However several days before the counts the weather had dramatically changed: a cyclone caused rains, temperature decrease resulted in strong frosting-up, and after that snow fell. It was unusual to see this picture of the traditionally warm Crimea: ice-coated trees glimmering in the sun, ice-covered road as plain as glass, all dumped with snow… In some places in open terrain the snowdrifts reach more than 0.5 m, being a considerable obstacle to move outside the highways. Sometimes even on highways there were piles of snow hardly getting over by motor-cars. Night temperature amounted to -20oC! Only in last days of counts the warming came, small rain fell, and snow began quickly melting.
Main habitats in the region of our investigations consisted of agricultural landscapes separated by forest belts and irrigation canals, part of the area was occupied by vineyards and settlements. The areas of steppe sites were small. Since the count routes were long, we observed quite a high number of birds of prey. However, they distributed unevenly: sometimes there wasn’t any raptor for many km of ploughed fields. But fallows, field with unploughed stubble and also steppe sites held concentrations of raptors – sometimes up to 15 individuals of different species were visible from one point of observation. At this, distribution of species was also unequal: in different days different species dominated. A total of more than 700 individuals of 13 species of Falconiformes were counted and 300 individuals of 3 species of owls. Generally, the Rough-legged Buzzard prevailed, and 4 species simultaneously were subdominant: Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Hen Harrier and Kestrel.
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.