Monitoring of wintering birds at Shabla and Durankulak Lakes

Monitoring of wintering birds at Shabla and Durankulak Lakes

On 22 and 23 December 2017, Green Balkans experts have conducted monitoring of wintering birds in Coastal Dobrogea region’s wetlands – Shabla – Ezerets lake complex; Shabla saline lagoon; Durankulak Lake and Kartaliysko marsh.

Main goal of the monitoring was to check whether wintering geese have arrived in the region that is of key importance for the globally threatened species Red breasted goose (Branta ruficolis). Only two small flocks of White fronted geese (Anser albifrons) in flight have been recorded – one to the west of Shabla saline lagoon and the other to the north of Kartaliysko marsh. No Red breasted geese were observed.

Shabla saline lagoon was frozen (hint that probably the lagoon has become freshwater and is no more saline) but despite of that few Shelducks (Tadorna tadorna) were resting on the ice. Numbers of wintering birds at Shabla – Ezerets lake complex was very low. Concentrations of raptors have been observed in the area including over the steppe habitats nearby.

Numbers of wintering birds at Durankulak Lake and Kartaliysko marsh were much higher compared to Shabla-Ezerets. Observations of two species not typical for winter were also made – Whinhcat (Saxicola rubetra) and Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucordia). Among other interested sightings were a group of Dalmatian pelicans (Pelecanus crispus), Common merganser (Mergus merganser) and a flock of about 800 Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) feeding in a field adjacent to lake. Small group of Whooper swans (Cygnus cygnus) were feeding in a field close to Krapets village.

Surprising and disturbing observations of intensive cuts in shelter belt woods including oak ones were made since these are important bio-corridors and play important role in mitigation of winter storms in the region.