of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station

Branta Cover Language of the article: Russian Cite: Andriyushchenko, Y. A., Kostyushin, V. A., Kucherenko, V. N., Popenko, V. M. (2015). Geese and other waterbirds in the dry steppe subzone of Ukraine in the winter of 2011/2012. Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 18, 40-63 Keywords: waterbirds, dry steppe subzone of Ukraine, wintering, number, distribution. Views: 954 Branta copyright Branta license

Branta Issues > Issue №18 (2015)

Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 40-63

Geese and other waterbirds in the dry steppe subzone of Ukraine in the winter of 2011/2012

Y. A. Andriyushchenko, V. A. Kostyushin, V. N. Kucherenko, V. M. Popenko

Несмотря на довольно большое число исследований зимовок водно-болотных птиц в Азово-Черноморском регионе Украины, они имеют определенные  недостатки: во-первых, проводятся, как правило, только на водоемах и по их берегам, во-вторых – почти все учеты однократные, преимущественно, в середине января в рамках IWC. В результате очень мало данных о видах, кормящихся на суше, прежде всего о гусях, а также отсутствуют данные о динамике численности и перераспределения птиц в течение зимы. Данная работа частично восполняет этот пробел, так как изначально была нацелена на учеты численности гусей, кормящихся в основном вдали от водоемов, а также в связи с двукратным обследованием региона – в первой и второй половине зимы.

In spite of a rather high number of wintering waterbird counts in the Azov-Black Sea Region of Ukraine several gaps can be noted. Firstly, their coverage is usually limited only by water bodies and their coastlines. Secondly, almost all counts are single, predominantly taken in mid January under the programme of the International Waterbird Census (IWC). As a result, the data on the species, foraging on land, are still poor (especially for geese). Also, there is no available information on the dynamics of bird numbers and redistribution during winter. This paper makes a partial attempt to fill this gap since this research was targeted on counting the geese mainly foraging at some distance from the water bodies and moreover it included a double survey in the first and second halves of the winter season.
The data were collected during the counts carried out on 20-25 December 2011 and 21-27 January 2012 using cross-country vehicles. The total length of the census route comprised 4,423.4 km, of them 1,564.5 km in December, and 2,858.9 km in January. Outside the wetland bodies the survey was done within 10 X 10 km count squares. The census covered the left-bank part of the dry steppe subzone of Ukraine – the steppe Crimea and south of Kherson Region.
A total of 176,413 ind. of 46 waterbird species were counted. Of them in December 2011 – 82,424 ind. of 36 species, and in January 2012 – 93,988 ind. of 38 speices. The most numerous were Anser albifrons (21.5% of the total number of counted birds), Anas platyrhynchos (19.9%), Fulica atra (13.6%), Tadorna tadorna (6.5%), Aythya ferina (6.4%), Anas penelope (3.7%), Rufibrenta ruficollis (3.5%), Cygnus olor (3.2%), Netta rufina (1.5%). Among 7 orders of the waterbirds, counted in the winter of 2011-2012, the most numerous were Anseriformes, amounted to 69.8% in December and 95.7% in January, as well as Gruiformes with their 28.6% in December, almost all percentage at the expense of Fulica atra. In December 2011, the majority of birds were registered in the Western Crimea - 68.5% of all the birds counted, or circa 56,000 ind. At Syvash and on Kerch Peninsula there were counted 20.1% (circa 17,000 ind.) and 11.4% (circa 9,000 ind) respectively. In January 2012, the counted birds almost equally distributed among three subregions: Kerch Peninsula – 36.4% (circa 34,000 ind.), Syvash – 31.4% (circa 30,000 ind.) and the Northern Black Sea Region – 27.7% (circa 26,000 ind.). Therefore, the most important for the wintering waterbirds were the Western Crimea, Kerch Peninsula, Syvash and the Northern Black Sea Region (mentioned in a descending order according to the counted bird numbers). However, the species composition and numbers of the waterbirds in subregions were various and dynamic throughout the winter season.
During counts it was recorded a high hunting pressure on wintering geese. In addition, several hundreds of geese, including the Red-breasted Goose, were found dead. They were poisoned by means of deratisation used on agricultural fields.

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