Atlas news from Lithuania

By darius_saulenas (Lithuania Nature Uploaded by GiW) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By darius_saulenas (Lithuania Nature Uploaded by GiW) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Although the breeding bird atlas work in Lithuania is well in progress regarding the data collection, some evident gaps in knowledge still exist and already evident from the available data. Those gaps are related to both – some regions of the country and certain bird groups. Regarding gaps in the covered regions, the most poorly researched is the western part of Lithuania, especially regions located in the western northern part (named Žemaitija ethnographic region) and large part of the Central Lithuania.
Regarding the gaps in species, the worst situation is with data on woodpeckers and owls, and also other species that are active during night time (Rallids, Great snipe, Bluethroat etc). Similarly, breeding sites of rare breeding species are still missing as large part of the country was not searched properly. So, Lithuanian Ornithological Society sees the last EBBA season as a big challenge, especially, having in mind that all work (including fieldwork, coordination and data management) is based on volunteer work. Despite this, there are already some news in comparison to the last Breeding Bird Atlas in Lithuania  (1996-2000).
One of the newly discovered breeding bird species for Lithuania is Baillon’s crake (Porzana pusilla) which was found breeding is some places of one river valley in North-Eastern Lithuania in 2015.

Porzana pusilla EBBA2 provisional map

Porzana pusilla EBBA2 provisional map

 

Another new breeding bird species – Booted warbler (Iduna caligata) also was found for the first time breeding in two locations in Lithuania in 2015.

By Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom (Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom (Booted Warbler (Iduna caligata)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In comparison to the previous Lithuanian Breeding Bird Atlas (1996-2000) several new breeding species were detected as regular breeders:

Great Egret (Egretta alba)
Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Ural owl (Strix uralensis) – confirmed breeding since 2001
European bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
European stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Common Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)

Great Egret (photo by Tomaš Bělka)

Great Egret (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

 

Evident increase of the breeding population is observed, for example, for:

Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
Little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Pygmy owl (Galucidium passerinum)
Citrine wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

Red Kite (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

Red Kite (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

 

However, there are also more sad stories emerging from our data collection. Evident reduction of the breeding range of several bird species is already observed. This group covers wader species, first of all:

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
but also
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Black kite (Milvus migrans)
Black grouse (Tetrao tetrix)
Grey partridge (Perdix perdix)
Little gull (Larus minutus)
Common gull (Larus canus)
Little tern (Sterna albifrons)
Black Tern (Chlidonisa niger)
European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)

Ortolan bunting (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

Ortolan bunting (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

 

And the most sad news come from the fact that some species are not found breeding anymore in Lithuania. Those are:

Red-brested merganser (Mergus serrator)
Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Pied Avoset (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Little owl (Athene noctua)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor)

Little owl (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

Little owl (photo by Tomáš Bělka)

 

More information about the project can be found on LOD website: http://www.birdlife.lt/lppa

 

Liutauras Raudonikis, 10.3.2017