You can already feel spring in the weather, but can you see it in the sky? Which species of birds return from their wintering grounds to Poland? Dr. Michał Polakowski from the Institute of Biology of the University of Szczecin told about it in an interview with TVN24 from the picturesque backwaters of the Narew River.
March is the time when the sky starts to get crowded, due to the spring migration of migratory birds. Various species can be observed in this period in the area of the Narew National Park. Dr. Michał Polakowski from the Institute of Biology of the University of Szczecin said that “the migration of birds from wintering grounds to breeding grounds has been going on for a long time and is developing at its best”.
“Now we have quite a lot of bird species that appear in the river backwaters,” he said. He pointed out that “lots of widgeons, white-fronted geese, pintails, various species of ducks and geese, but also zouaws” can be observed. – Out of the water you can see a lot of larks, lapwings – added the ornithologist.
He pointed out that “this is the time of migration of geese, especially white-fronted geese, which fly from Western Europe from wintering grounds to breeding grounds to Siberia and stop in Podlasie.” He emphasized that the “important place” of stopping, feeding and resting for this species is the Biebrza Basin. ‘They fly day and night,’ he said, adding that their sounds can also be heard over cities. “They migrate quite widely towards the north-east,” he described.
“This has rarely happened before”
As the specialist pointed out, “very few birds used to winter in the Narew area”. These were only some species of geese. – At the moment, more and more birds remain. This year we saw a lot of geese of various species in January. This has happened very rarely before, he said.
In his opinion, this is due to the fact that more and more often geese winter close to our country, and even in our country, which “previously were found only in Western Europe”. – Now they are more and more numerous in western central Poland. Therefore, they are closer to Podlasie. They may relocate when conditions here are good to forage and rest before moving on, he explained.
Ornithologists on the delay in the return of storks
Can you see the storks yet? As Dr. Polakowski said, he met the first one about a week ago. He pointed out that “some have a delay in flight”, which may be related to the recent arrival of cool air. He said the delay could be “a couple of days, maybe a week.” – It’s not like all birds, not only storks, arrive at once – he noted.
The delay in the return of birds symbolizing the beginning of spring from their wintering grounds in Africa was also noted by Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski, zoologist and researcher of storks from the Department of Zoology at the University of Life Sciences in Poznań. He reminded that research projects on bird migration are being carried out together with the SILESIANA ornithological group. Over 120 individuals have already been equipped with transmitters.
As the professor pointed out, the analysis of signals from these transmitters shows that the first of the tracked birds flew across the Red Sea in early March and was in Israel, a few were getting ready to fly in Egypt. He added that the bulk of the population was still in Sudan and Chad at the time, with some still in northern South Africa.
“There haven’t been many seasons like this”
In an interview with TVN24, Dr. Polakowski also pointed out the current high water level in the Narew backwaters. He emphasized that in previous years “there were few seasons when the water was high”. “They were rather dry years,” he said.
– Such high levels as they are now are very favorable – noted the ornithologist from the Institute of Biology of the University of Szczecin. Although, he said, on the one hand, the current water level in some places may be too high for some species, but “there are always conditions at the edge of the backwaters” suitable for feeding or resting for “shallow-loving” species.
The water level in the Narew River at most water gauge stations is described as high. At the Ploski station, the warning level was exceeded by 20 centimeters on Sunday, amounting to 350 cm, according to the data of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management.
Main photo source: TVN24