Issue 2011-4


Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 295–300

Variation of the Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis breeding phenology in the biggest European colony in Kąty Rybackie (Vistula Spit,
N Poland)

Anna Buczma, Michał Goc, Wojciech Kosmalski

Abstract: Breeding phenology of the Great Cormorant was studied between 2003 and 2011 in a colony in Kąty Rybackie. On three study plots, post-hatching eggshells were collected once a week, allowing for estimation of both the onset and the progress of hatching. The beginning of hatching between the earliest (2008) and the latest (2006) breeding seasons differed by about one month. The onset of breeding (earliest broods) varied among studied plots within the colony, and, at the same time, the sequence in which Cormorants started to breed was repeatable. The earliest breeding was always found in the oldest part of the colony, while the latest – at the plot where Cormorants and Grey Herons Ardea cinerea co-occur. These differences were smaller in seasons, when breeding was later overall. Both the onset and median dates of breeding were significantly correlated with the dates of melting of the ice cover from the Vistula Lagoon and this relationship was less marked in warmer seasons, when ice cover melted earlier. This confirms the importance of Vistula Lagoon as the basic foraging area for Cormorants early in the season. At the same time, it may explain why parts of the colony located close to the lagoon (the oldest parts of the colony) are the most attractive for birds.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 247–254

Numbers, distribution and breeding habitat of the Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus at the Łoniewskie Lake (Wielkopolska region, W Poland) in 1986–2011

Janusz Stępniewski

Abstract: At the Łoniewskie Lake, numbers of Bearded Reedling breeding pairs fluctuated strongly, from just few in some years to 60 pairs in 2000 and 2008. They most frequently bred in north-eastern and southern parts of the lake, where preferred habitats predominated. Bearded Reedlings bred either singly (45.2% of 155 breeding groups, where group was defined by the distance between nests) or in aggregations of 2–13 pairs (54.8%). The most frequent were aggregations of 2–4 pairs (45.2%) The minimum distances between occupied nests were 2.5 and 3.0 m. Nests were built inside the rushes (70.1%) and at their edges (22.0%); less frequently close to the open water surface (7.9%). Nests were supported on the tussocks Carex sp. (36.2%), Narrowleaf Cattail Typha angustifolia (34.8%) and Common Reed Phragmites australis (26.8%). Mean water depth just below the nest was 14 cm (SD=10.1; range 1–52; N=78).

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 255–264

Inland migration of the Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea in Poland

Łukasz Ławicki, Tadeusz Stawarczyk

Abstract: In 1930–2011, 45 records of the Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea (50 individuals) were made in the inland of Poland. Number of observations increased in subsequent decades: the years 1970. – 5 records, 1980. – 7, 1990. – 10, 2000. – 20. Over 60% of records come from southern Poland, mainly from Silesia (11 records) and Małopolska region (5), while on the north was the most frequently observed in the North Podlasie Lowland (11). Arctic Tern occurs in the inland of Poland in the period from the second decade of April to the first decade of November, with highest numbers in May and August. Most of the inland observations relate to adult birds (77%), occurring from April to August. Juveniles were recorded mainly from September to mid October. The majority of observations (91%) concerned single individuals. The largest group contained three individuals. Arctic Terns were most frequently observed on dam reservoirs (35%) and fishponds (28%). In the case of 62% observations Arctic Terns were observed in the company of other Lari species, mostly Common Tern S. hirundo. Two individuals of Arctic Tern, ringed in Denmark and Estonia, were subsequently found in the inland of Poland, 240 km and 880 km from the ringing site. Data from Poland and observations from Central and Western Europe (Besançon & Combrisson 2011), suggest the existence of inland migration route of the Arctic Tern, passing through the European continent.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 265–274

Avian influenza in free-living populations – selected epidemiological aspects with special regard to H5N1 infections

Krzysztof Śmietanka, Włodzimierz Meissner

Abstract: Wild birds, mainly of the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes, constitute a natural reservoir of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). Based on the surface antigens haemaglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N), avian influenza viruses have been divided into 16 subtypes H and 9 subtypes N that form different combinations. LPAI virus infections in wild birds are usually asymptomatic but the virus can be transmitted to domestic poultry in which, under some rare circumstances, it mutates to a highly pathogenic form (HPAI) and causes severe disease with nervous, respiratory and digestive disorders and high mortality. So far only some influenza viruses of H5 and H7 subtypes have been responsible for HPAI. Poultry is also a source of infection for wild birds in which HPAI viruses can circulate and spread but such situations are not frequent. The most spectacular cases of HPAI in wild birds were caused by H5N1 subtype and took place in 2005 with peak in 2006 when in the EU 748 cases in 14 Member States were recorded. In recent years, despite intensive surveillance, H5N1 viruses have been isolated sporadically. Under experimental conditions swans have been shown to be the most susceptible to infection with H5N1 followed by different species of wild geese and diving ducks. Dabbling ducks seem to be the least susceptible and e.g. the course of infection in Mallards Anas platyrhynchos is asymptomatic but with shedding of infectious virus. The risk of human infection with H5N1 virus from wild birds is low but all people involved with direct contact with wild birds (handling, ringing, sample collection etc.) should follow good hygiene practices (H5N1 is sensitive to soap and hot water). In all cases of increased mortality in wild birds HPAI should be investigated.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 275–279

Next changes in the taxonomy of Polish birds

Tadeusz Stawarczyk

Abstract: The recent decisions of the Taxonomic Sub-committee of the BOURC concerning changes in avian taxonomy inspired the Polish Avifaunistic Commission to introduce them with regards to species noted in the national checklist.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 280–287

The usefulness of various methods of monitoring the population size
of the Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus

Jerzy Michalczuk, Monika Michalczuk, Robert Cymbała

Abstract: Four methods of estimating the number of breeding pairs of the Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus were compared in 2006, 2007 and 2011 on 43 km² of farmland (SE Poland). The study was conducted in an anthropogenic habitat: orchards, tree lines and widely spaced woodlands in built-up areas (about 4.5 km²) which support optimal breeding habitat for the Syrian Woodpecker. During the three years of the study, the mean density was 1.2–2.1 pairs/10 km² for the entire study area and 11.1–20.0 pairs/10 km² for the area of optimal habitat. The approach based on six surveys with the use of playback provided the highest detectability of breeding territories (N=9 territories). The most time-consuming and the least effective was the nest searching method. The main reasons of its low efficiency (N=5 nests found, 56% of pairs detected with the 6KS approach) were the secretive behaviour of this species during the breeding period and significant losses of holes caused by the nesting parasite of the Starling Sturnus vulgaris. The cartographic method and the method of three visits with playback allowed to estimate the number of nesting sites at only seven pairs. Although the last method required a relatively short time spent on field surveys, it showed changes in population size precisely. In mind with this, we recommend the method of three controls with playback for monitoring the number of breeding pairs of the Syrian Woodpecker.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 288–291

First breeding of the Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
in Poland

Tomasz Tumiel, Grzegorz Grygoruk

Abstract: In 2011, near Dąbrówki village (Podlasie region, NE Poland) the first breeding of Blyth’s Reed Warbler in Poland was recorded. A singing male was detected on 30th May, observed again on 3rd June, while on 13th June a pair was found. On 16th July, an adult with breeding patch, and a newly fledged juvenile were trapped in the mist-net, another adult and next juvenile were also observed. Blyth’s Reed Warbler bred in a willow bushes, surrounded by abandoned land with rich vegetation.

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 292–294

Mystery bird 65: Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus

Jan Lontkowski

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Ornis Polonica 2011, 52: 295–300

Numbers of waterbirds on the Bay of Gdańsk between May 2010 and April 2011

Włodzimierz Meissner, Szymon Bzoma, Piotr Nagórski, Gerard Bela, Piotr Zięcik, Magdalena Wybraniec, Antoni Marczewski

Abstract: Between May 2010 and April 2011, waterbird counts were carried out as in previous years, once a month along the coastline of the Bay of Gdańsk. Similarly to previous seasons, the commonest summering species were Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Mute Swan Cygnus olor and Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. The numbers of Mallard, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus and Coot Fulica atra increased in August, what is typical for the bay and indicates first post-breeding movements of these species. Compared to 2006–2007, numbers of Greylag Goose Anser anser clearly increased in numbers during summer. In November, Great Crested Grebe, Common Scoter Melanitta nigra and Smew Mergellus albellus occurred in high numbers. The winter of 2010/2011 was the second in a row with low temperatures and long period of extensive ice cover on the bay, what strongly reduced the numbers of wintering birds except Goldeneye Bucephala clangula. The winter had extremely low numbers of Great Cormorant and Coot.

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