Thursday, July 18, 2019

ABP 2019 - Part VI: Vetluga

Yellow-breasted Bunting fledgeling © Marc Bastardot
After a short break in the Polar Ural, Marc and Yulia, a Russian volunteer, met with ornithologist Alexey Levashkin in the Nijni Novogorod Oblast. There we put the last three geolocators of the year on males of the Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola, colour-ringed two other individuals, and did some habitat mapping. And this in less than 3 days! 
Despite the fact that males were nearly not singing, we could easily catch them, thanks to the perfect weather conditions (rainy day and foggy morning). The territories were really easy to find as the chicks were already hatched and the adults were immediately warning as soon as we approached the nesting area. We could also find the first fledgling of the year! 
In these abandoned fields close to the Vetluga river, the density of the critically endangered Yellow-breasted Bunting was really high. It was hard to make 200m without hearing some adults warning. Incredible to see such big and healthy population (at least 20 to 30 pairs) only 400 km from Moscow. 
The other species present in this place were similar to the species that can be found in north-east Germany (River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis, Garden Warbler Sylvia borin, Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Oriole Oriolus oriolus, Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus, Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus). In addition to these European species, some eastern ones such as Booted Warbler Iduna caligata, Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum, Great Snipe Gallinago media and a Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica (which is a rare breeding bird in this area) were observed. 
We would like to thank Alexey for the invitation to this great place and for his help and all the logistics. We also like to thank Olga and Alexey who joined us for a day for their help in the field! Спасибо большое!

// Marc 
Team Vetluga: Marc, Yulia and Alexey © Marc Bastardot
Tagging a Yellow-breasted Bunting with a geolocator © Yulia Sechina
On the way to the buntings © Olga levashova
A net full of tits © Marc Bastardot
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker © Yulia Sechina
Long-tailed Tit © Yulia Sechina
Siberian Grass Snake Natrix natrix scutata © Alexey Levashkin
Russian roads... © Yulia Sechina