Monitoring of wintering birds in Coastal Dobrogea

Monitoring of wintering birds in Coastal Dobrogea

This is the second monitoring visit for December. Main goal was to identify preferred roosting and feeding sites by wintering gees in our country and particularly by the globally threatened Red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis).

Highest numbers of roosting geese were recorded in the Shabla – Ezerets lake complex where the experts counted more than 2800 geese taking off from the lakes at dusk. In the nearby Durankulak Lake the number of wintering geese was considerably lower – about 160.  Interesting observation there was a small flock of Greylag geese (Anser anser), resting in an opening among the reedbeds at dusk.

Shablenska tuzla lagoon was frozen almost completely (confirming yet again the fact that the lagoon has changed from saline to freshwater) but despite that few Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna) were feeding in the unfrozen parts.

In the vicinity of Durankulak Lake were registered roosts of other species, too – Hen and March harriers, Magpies, Great and Pygmy cormorants. Pallas’s gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus) - rare winter visitor - was spotted in a group of Yellow-legged gulls.

The visit in the farmlands of the region aiming to identify the preferred feeding sites by the geese has revealed largest concentrations around the village of Ezerets where several mixed flocks were observed. Total numbers of observed feeding geese was as follows: White-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) – more than 850; Red-breasted geese (Branta ruficollis) – around 700. Interesting observation was the presence of 12 Ruddy shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) feeding together with the geese in a field near Ezerets. In another field close to Shabla Lake a flock of more than 80 Whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus) was observed and after a more careful look 8 Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus) were identified.

Generally warm winter until now is the reason for the lower numbers of wintering geese in our country. The visit has shown existence of appropriate fields in good condition including those owned by the society which with the advance of the season hopefully will host more migrants. Local farmers shared their concerns related to low precipitation in autumn causing lower growth pf winter grain crops especially in the coastal strip. 

For additional information:
Dimitar Popov – tel.: 00359885108712, e-mail: