Issue 2014-1

Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 1–21

Occurrence of the Pallas’s Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus in Poland

Józef Hordowski

Abstract: The article focuses on the occurrence of the Pallas’s Sandgrouse in Poland in 1863–2013, on the basis of ornithological literature, hunting magazines and daily press. Three large invasions of the species were observed in Poland in 1863, 1888 and 1908; otherwise, it was observed only ten times. In the course of 150 years, 281 records were noted in all regions of the country. Most of them came from the former Prussian Partition, while the fewest – from the Russian Partition. Three breeding cases were recorded in the Greater Poland and Pomerania, and there were two cases of probable nesting. The birds were predominantly observed in the flocks of 10–80 individuals (N=99), while the groups of several hundred birds were rarely recorded (N=14). Three main invasions happened in April and May; 89% of all observations come from 1888.

Key words: Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Syrrhaptes paradoxus, invasion

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 22–33

Habitat preferences of the Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria and Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio in the Middle Roztocze region

Marcin Polak, Maciej Filipiuk

Abstract: The main aim of this study was the quantitative analysis of differences and similarities in breeding habitats selection of the Barred Warbler and Red-backed Shrike in the area of co-occurrence. In 2012 and 2013, 20 territorial pairs of the Barred Warbler and 32–33 territorial pairs of the Red-backed Shrike bred on the study plot in the Middle Roztocze region (south-eastern Poland). Annually, 31–42% of the shrike pairs bred in close proximity of warblers. Habitat preferences of the studied species were investigated using the Jacob’s habitat selectivity index. Bushes and fallows were preferred, while arable fields were avoided by both species. Analysis of nest heights above ground indicated vertical separation of the studied species – shrikes nested higher in the bushes than warblers, however, both species preferred similar height of nesting bushes. The results have important implications for an effective conservation strategy for areas with large and viable populations of these threatened species.

Key words: Barred Warbler, Sylvia nisoria, Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio, habitat selection

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 34–47

Avifauna of farmland areas around the Łysogóry (the Świętorzyskie Mountains)

Tomasz Bracik

Abstract: The study has been carried out in farmland areas surrounding the Łysogóry (the highest range of the Świętorzyskie Mountains) on 3 transects of the total length of 5300 m and area of 159 ha. A total of 40 breeding bird species have been recorded (22–25 species on a single transect). All three transects had similar species composition (11 species in common), and the average density was 15.7 p/10 ha. The dominant species were the Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis and Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella. Only a few thermophilic species, typical of farmland habitats of Silesia, Great Poland and Mazovia have been found in the area.

Key words: farmland, bird community, transect method

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 48–68

Impact of air traffic on birds (part I)

Michał Skakuj, Ignacy Kitowski, Dorota Łukasik

Interactions between aviation and birds are very complex. That includes impact on avifauna as well as much more important issue: the bird strike to airplanes. Worldwide civil aviation loss due to the birdstrikes is estimated for up to $2 bln a year. Unfortunately some birdstrikes have catastrophic consequences including loss of human lives. That is why the birdstrike risk assessment is so important for air traffic safety. Birds distribution in 13 km circle around airfields is important for such analysis. The majority of the birdstrikes occur up to 300 m above the ground, in the vicinity and on the aerodromes. Most of the birdstrikes include common and abundant species. However, in some strikes bigger and heavier birds like the White Stork, are involved. Therefore, in such cases the damage level could be substantial. The heaviest birds and flocking/gregarious birds create the highest hazard for the safety of aircraft operations. Rather low number of birdstrikes in Poland (ca 200 birdstrikes per year) means the potential negative impact for the population of birds is insignificant. The noise and appearance of flying airplanes are the most crucial factors for bird’s reactions. Nevertheless, the noise level below 70 dB does not implicate negative response. In addition even much higher noise level is a less critical factor than predators or food availability for those birds breeding on the aerodromes. The most intense reaction of birds are caused by rotorcrafts, small airplanes of general aviation, motor gliders and hot air balloons. Whereas there is almost no reaction on fast flying commercial airliners. Safe flying level for shorebirds gathering areas is estimated for ca 500 m, for geese it is some 1000 m and some 300 m for raptor breeding places. Due to the fast increase of commercial civil and military air traffic, together with the increase in number of airfields in Poland and still growing popularity of the general aviation, it is important to evaluate a potential environmental impact, including avifauna, especially on the Natura 2000 network and on the national park system.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 69–72

The first case of hybridization between Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus and Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis and next mixed broods of Lesser Black-backed Gull and Caspian Gull L. cachinnans

Grzegorz Orłowski, Paweł Kołodziejczyk

In the breeding seasons of 2009 and 2010, adult, pale-mantled Lesser Black-backed Gull was permanently present near Caspian Gull breeding colony (over 120 pairs) at Mietkowski Reservoir (SW Poland). Following these observations, in the spring of 2011, a mixed pair of a Lesser Black-backed Gull and Caspian Gull was found breeding there. Three chicks hatched but they were not relocated in late June. In 2012, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen at the reservoir, one of which paired and bred with Yellow-legged Gull (in the same place as in 2011) and another one – with Caspian Gull. Nests with eggs were found in both cases, but the fate of these broods remains unknown (the large colony was largely destroyed by a terrestrial predator). These cases constitute first nesting of Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Silesia and first case of hybridization between Yellow-legged Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull in Poland. The strong increase in numbers of the European populations of Lesser Black-backed Gull suggests that western origin of individuals nesting in Poland is very likely.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 73–77

Numbers of waterbirds on the Bay of Gdańsk between September 2012 and April 2013.

Włodzimierz Meissner, Jakub Typiak, Ewelina Kurach, Andrzej Kośmicki, Szymon Bzoma

In autumn 2012 number of waterbirds was low, except of the Wigeon Anas penelope, which in September occurred in high number of 3 000 birds in the whole area. The number of waterbirds increased in December with the decrease of temperatures when many Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and Goldeneyes Bucephala clangula arrived. In the mid-January the most numerous was Goosander Mergus merganser, whereas in the spring large concentrations of Long-tailed Ducks Clangula hyemalis were recorded. Abundance of the latter species in last two seasons were exceptionally high compared to previous 20 years. Herring Gulls Larus argentatus were concentrated mainly at fisherman ports in Jastarnia and Władysławowo. The number of gulls gathering on the refuse dumps has decreased since 2003.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 78–79

Rodríguez N., García J., Copete J.L. (red.). 2013. El Mosquitero Ibérico. Gruppo Ibérico de Anillamiento, Léon.

Grzegorz Neubauer

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 1: 80–81

Mystery bird 74: Semipalmated sandpiper Calidris pusilla

Jan Lontowski

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