Issue 2014-2

Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 83–95

Abundance and distribution of owls Strigiformes in the Pieniny Mountains National Park (southern Poland) – the pattern of changes in the protected area after 10 years

Michał Ciach, Sławomir Czyżowicz

Abstract: This paper presents the results of the owl survey conducted in 2012 in the Pieniny National Park (southern Poland) and compares them with the results from 2002. The survey was carried out using the mapping method and playback. Six species of owls have been recorded, of which Tawny Owl Strix aluco (density 7.7–9.5 pairs/10 km2) was the most common. The densities of the other species were lower: Eagle Owl Bubo bubo 2.6 pairs/10 km2, Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum 2.2 pairs/10 km2, Tengmalm’s Owl Aegolius funereus 0.9–2.2 pairs/10 km2, Ural Owl Strix uralensis 0.9–1.7 pairs/10 km2 and Long-eared Owl Asio otus 0.4–1.7 pairs/10 km2. The total density of the breeding owl community in 2012 was 14.6–19.8 pairs/10 km2, and it had increased compared to 2002 levels (12.9–16.3 pairs/10 km2). During the ten-year period the densities of the Tawny Owl, Pygmy Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl and Ural Owl continued to rise, but no changes in the Eagle Owl and Long-eared Owl numbers were noted. The species richness and high density of the breeding owl community highlights the great importance of the Pieniny Mts. for these birds at the national scale. Potential factors favouring such a pattern are a strict conservation regime in the area, the high quality of various breeding habitats and abundant food resources. In addition, the mild climate of the region is of crucial importance for sedentary species.

Key words: owls, Strigiformes, Pieniny Mts., density of owls

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 96–104

Nesting of the Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis in Poland in 2006–2013

Włodzimierz Meissner, Szymon Bzoma, Piotr Zięcik, Magdalena Wybraniec

Abstract: The first Polish breeding records of the Sandwich Terns come from 1929 and 1932–1936. During this period up to three pairs of the species nested in the estuary of the Vistula Śmiała River near the city of Gdańsk. In 1972 an unsuccessful breeding attempt of three pairs was recorded at the lake of Gardno. In 1977–1986 there was a colony of Sandwich Terns at the mouth of the Vistula cross-cut. In 1982 the colony hosted about 300 pairs, but in the successive years the colony size declined. In 1989 and 1991 few Sandwich Terns nested again at the mouth of the Vistula cross-cut, but only in 2006 they started nesting on a breakwater in Gdynia port, where 140 nests were recorded. The following year nests of Sandwich Terns were observed at the mouth of the Vistula cross-cut, where they had nested previously. In 2006–2013 the colony size ranged from 100 to 570 nests, reaching the highest values in 2009 (in 2014 at least 630 nests were found). Apart from the Sandwich Terns several other species nested on the same sandbank, such as the Common Terns Sterna hirundo (up to 360 pairs), Little Terns Sternula albifrons (up to 200 par), Herring Gulls Larus argentatus (up to 5 pairs), Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus (up to 10 pairs) and one pair of the Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus. The production of nestlings, in years when the colony was not destroyed by high water, ranged from 0.6 to 1.2–1.4 young per a breeding pair. Apart from natural factors, such as high waters or storms, the most important threat for nesting Sandwich Terns constitutes tourism. The penetration of sandbans by terrestial predators has never been observed, but nests at the coast were always destroyed by foxes Vulpes vulpes.

Key words: the Sandwich Tern, Sterna sandvicensis, the Gulf of Gdańsk, tern colony, nestling production, Mewia Łacha

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 105–114

Numbers, density and characteristics of nesting sites of the Magpie Pica pica in Białystok (NE Poland)

Adam Zbyryt, Jarosław Banach

Abstract: In 2013, in the city of Białystok (53°07’N; 23°10’E, 102 km2) 219 nests of Magpie were found, including 149 inhabited. The total breeding population has been estimated at 149–157 pairs. The average density was 1.5 pairs/km2. Differences in densities of Magpie nests among the 3 major types of habitats in Białystok have been shown (I – open areas without buildings: x=1.4 pairs/km2, SD=2.2; II – villa type allotments and dispersed development: x=4.0 pairs/km2, SD=2.5; III – apartment blocks allotments and industrial areas: x=0.4 pairs/km2, SD=0.4). A total of 21 tree and shrub taxa were chosen as nesting sites. The most frequently occupied tree species were Salix sp. (22.8%), Betula pendula (18.8%), Picea abies (17.4%), Alnus glutinosa (8.1%) and Cerasus vulgaris (5.4%). Mean nest height above the ground was 11.1 m (SD=5.46) and the height increased along the gradient of increasing urbanisation (habitat I: x=9.7 m, SD=5.2; habitat II: x=11.5 m, SD=4.9; habitat III: x=14.0 m, SD=6.1). The vast majority of nests (138, 92.6%) were covered with a roof, and only 11 stayed open (7.4%). The latter type of nests was located mainly in the first habitat (72.7%), and they were placed usually lower than nests with a roof. Nests were located the most often among groups of trees (92.6% of nests), while single trees and tree avenues were occupied less frequently – 20.1% and 9.4%, respectively. The Magpie in Białystok colonized all the available urban habitats, suggesting that it can be considered as an urban species at an intermediate level of urbanisation process.

Key words: Magpie, Pica pica, habitat selection, urban habitats

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 115–134

Revision of modern and historical records of rare birds in Poland

Komisja Faunistyczna

The Avifaunistic Commission has reconsidered many previously accepted records and rejected those which do not comply with modern standards. This communique contains the list of rejected records in systematic order. Every note provides full data on the record, bibliographical data of publication and short comments. Among rejected records are both Polish records of the Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus, and the only records of Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan, Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius and Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 135–141

Breeding densities of the Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto and the Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus in various types of urban habitats in Białystok (NE Poland)

Adam Zbyryt

The research was conducted in 2013 on seven plots in Białystok (53°07’N; 23°10’E) located in different types of urban habitats: the city centre, urban parks, modern block of flats area, old block of flats area, industrial areas, detached houses estate and suburban rural area. The surveyed area covered 5,3% of the administrative town – 541 ha. Mean densities of the Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto and the Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus in different habitats were compared. Relatively low densities of breeding pairs of both species have been recorded, especially in urban parks. Low densities of the Collared Dove in Białystok might be affected by three main factors: (1) historical factor, i.e. „youth“ of synurbization of this species in the NE Poland, (2) reduced access to food resources, and (3) the severity of last 3–4 winters. The Wood Pigeon is a species at an early stage of synurbization in Białystok, and only recently has it formed its permanent urban population. A strong positive correlation has been found between the densities of these two species (r = 0.72; p = 0.02) which undermines a possibility of their interspecific competition.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 141–143

High number of the Corncrake Crex crex in the Lower Bug Valley in 2011–2013

Marek Elas

During breeding seasons of 2011–2013 the Corncrake Crex crex surveys were carried out on floodplain meadows in the IBA the Lower Bug Valley. Calling males were counted on a single plot (790 ha – 2,9% of optimal habitat in IBA) twice a year. Densities varied from 4.3 males/km2 in 2013 (34 calling males) to 14 males/km2 in 2011 (110 calling males). There were significant differences in water level between the study years. The surveyed population can host from 5% to 20% of total number of Corncrake males in this IBA.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 143–146

Second record of the Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis in Poland

Grzegorz Zaniewicz, Wojciech Busse

On 11.09.2013 the Arctic Warbler was trapped, ringed and photographed in a ringing station near Kopań lake, Western Pomerania (N Poland). The description of the bird is given together with identification features which can help distinguish this species from other similar species of warblers. The previous record of the Arctic Warbler in Poland was on 11.09.1986. Occurrence of the species in Europe is also shortly presented. Accepted by the Avifaunistic Commission.

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Ornis Polonica 2014, 55: 147–148

Mystery bird 75

Jan Lontkowski

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