The Red-breasted Geese in Northeastern Bulgaria: update

The Red-breasted Geese maintain steady numbers in their traditional wintering grounds in NE Bulgaria. During the goose monitoring on January 23, 2016, carried out by a team of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Neophron Tours, we established 24 430 Red-breasted Geese, of which 12 760 had roosted in Durankulak Lake and 11 760 – in Shabla lake. This is the highest number of Red-breasts recorded in the last three winter seasons in the area of the two lakes. Some 56 990 White-fronted Geese were also counted during the census. These high numbers followed a cold spell in northeastern Bulgaria prior to the count. Most of the geese were grazing in the winter crop fields not far from the two lakes providing very good conditions for field observations.

The two lakes currently host large numbers of other water birds, including Whooper Swans, Tundra Swans, Common Pochards, Red-crested Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes, Smew, Black-necked Grebes, Pallas’s Gulls, Caspian Gulls, Common Gulls, Great Bitterns, etc.

The numbers of raptors in the area of the two lakes has also increased, following the cold spell. During the count we recorded about 30 Rough-legged Buzzards, 2 Long-legged Buzzards and more than 100 Common Buzzards, plus 5 White-tailed Eagles, 55 Marsh Harriers, 18 Hen Harriers and 3 Merlins.

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