Monitoring of wintering birds in Coastal Dobrudzha

Monitoring of wintering birds in Coastal Dobrudzha

This winter also, a team of the Association will conduct regular monitoring of the condition of the populations and habitats of geese and other bird species wintering in Primorska Dobrudzha.

With the onset of winter and decrease in temperature in our country many species of birds arrive from the north , which find here suitable conditions to spend this difficult period. Among them are geese, including the priority species of Red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis) - a rare and endangered species, whose population, according to the latest data, numbers about 50,000 individuals.

The monitoring of Durankulak Lake and the Shabla-Ezerets complex, as well as the adjacent fields in the area around them, showed that the first flocks of White-fronted and Greylag geese have already arrived, with a still low numbers - 62 White-fronted and 34 Greylag geese. The birds were observed to feed during the day in wheat fields with a precursor of corn. The general condition of the crops in the region is affected by the drought, and the lack of rain and snow this year may worsen their condition, which in turn will negatively affect the wintering geese in our country. A trend that we have observed in the last few years and which may be a result of all this is the displacement and concentration of wintering flocks to the south around the Burgas lakes.

Another serious threat to the species is that in wintering grounds it forms mixed flocks with the White-fronted geese, which are the object of hunting. The hunting pressure poses an extremely great threat to the survival of the species. The constant disturbance and moving of birds in their attempts to avoid this danger leads to their exhaustion, which makes them more susceptible to disease and would lead to difficulties in overcoming great distances when they return to the nesting sites in the spring. During the visit, our team register a jackal hunt on the shores of the Shabla-Ezerets complex. And although this practice is coordinated and carried out under the control of the local competent authorities, we must take into account its impact on flocks of geese that it drives away from the water body of the lake, where the birds spend the night and rest and drink water regularly during the day. Observed boat poaching has the same negative effect.
Another very interesting winter migrant was observed during the monitoring - Common crane (Grus grus). A flock of 16 birds flew over Shabla Lake. Impressive also is the increasing number of Whooper swans in the area - 57 individuals. Other species found during the monitoring are - Red-crested pochard, Pied avocet, Common and Ruddy shelduck, Eurasian teal, Eurasian bittern, Eurasian wigeon, Coot, Common pochard and others.

The monitoring is part of the long-term program of Green Balkans for Conservation of Red-breasted Goose.

Dimitar Popov -
Galina Meshkova -