Surprises among wintering water birds2017-01-26
In January, the directorates of the protected areas are doing a count of wintering water birds. Their employees most often find mallards and swans, but surprises occur as well.
The biggest one of these surprises is the great bittern in the Aukštaitija National Park. It was observed hiding in the reeds of Lake Sekluotis. In this park, birds are observed at 17 counting sites, and their itineraries extend for more than a hundred kilometres. Sometimes naturalists find one or two grey herons, but the great bittern has been discovered for the first time. It is hard to predict what prevented the bird from leaving for warmer countries for wintering.
In early January, a flock of 20 common starlings was noticed at the jetty on the shore of Lake Žuvintas in the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve. Almost every year the reed growths of Žuvintas become home to single wintering water rails. In the middle of January, their traces were found in three different places of the lake.
Many birds have stayed for the winter in the Seaside Regional Park. On 9 January, employees of the park counted more than 2 000 birds of 11 species (excluding gulls) on the coast strip between the Klaipėda pier to the Palanga bridge. Dominating among them were goosanders (1 640). Quite a number of common goldeneyes (195), great crested grebes (191) and long-tailed ducks (75) were found as well. The employees also had the luck to see one white-tailed sea eagle.