1450 km in short Lada Niva,
176 hours of atlas mapping,
155 recorded bird species,
78 nests of shorebirds,
19 homemade boršč soups,
10 nights in our tents,
9 visited squares 50 × 50 km,
4 members of the Czech Society for Ornithology,
1 vast Russian landscape…
This could be a short summary of the expedition which was undertaken by four members of Czech Society for Ornithology during twelve days in the second part of May 2017.
We have successfully fulfilled two goals of our expedition which were 1) realisation of a workshop on EBBA2 mapping in Astrakhan Nature Reserve in the delta of river Volga and 2) bird mapping in uncovered squares westward from the Caspian Sea.
During our stay in Astrakhan and Kalmykia regions, we met various habitats and bird communities. Starting from the Caspian Sea and Volga estuary with immense reedbeds and riverline forests turning into agriculture landscape with fields, villages and many scattered fresh, brackish and salt lakes. In the end, we were amazed at diverse steppe ecosystem, which was changing nearly with every kilometre.
Altogether, it was really great experience. We have seen many interesting birds and landscapes as well as we have filled gaps in EBBA2. Do not hesitate to do the same in any uncovered part of Europe!
20.6.2017, Vojtěch Kubelka