Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 44/1 | 2007 | 37-51

  Observations from March to May 2006
Centrale Ornithologique Aves, Groupe de travail "Chroniques"

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Article summary

Spring 2006 weather conditions were generally cold and rainy in our region. In March, the resident birds’ territorial defence started rather late and irregularly (Woodpeckers, for example). Migrators were also late, although some occurred in large numbers, such as Red Kites, Cranes, and Golden Plovers. Rate of migration was greater after mid-March, with peaks for many species, the first returns from the south and the departure of the northern birds. However, some of the latter were still frequent in April (Brambling, for example), whereas the odd appearances of Waxwings, Bullfinches, and Redpolls came to an end. After that, migration remained rather infrequent for many species (shorebirds, Wheatears, Yellow Wagtail, Serin, for example), but some, their migration stopped by meteorological barriers, appeared in unusual numbers (Ring Ouzel in April, Little Gull and Common Tern...). At the end of the spring, the return of the last migrators was also rather slow (especially Red-backed Shrikes). Poor weather lasting until May caused loss of many young for a lot of species, from Tits to Black Storks. The situation of several rare breeders is worrying : for example, the populations of Black and Hazel Grouse are stagnating at very low levels, those of Black-headed Gulls are greatly reduced because of the loss of the main colony due to disturbance. Several remarkable nestings occurred, just the same. First, Black-necked Grebes were abundant, with notably 80 pairs at Ploegsteert where a pair of Ferruginous Ducks nested as well. Next, the first Walloon nesting of a Little Egret, at Harchies, where two pairs of Night Herons also nest, 25 years after the first nesting. Expansion of Black Kites, the nesting of the three species of Harrier, the sixth consecutive nesting of our pair of White Storks, a new nesting of the flavissima subspecies of Yellow Wagtail, signs of expansion of the Aquatic Warbler and the Red-crested Pochard... The establishment of a fourth colony of Great Cormorants illustrates the slow expansion of our nesting population; it is important to note that this is the first colony of the sinense subspecies. Finally, note the main rarities observed this spring : Griffon Vulture, White-tailed Eagle, Stone Curlew, Arctic Skua, Crested Lark, Cirl, Rock, and Snow Buntings, and especially a Black-throated Thrush. Note, as well, a short series of observations of Black-winged Stilts and Dotterels as well as the observation of a Ring Ouzel outside the zone occupied by our small nesting population in the High Ardennes.

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