During winter counts of Anseriformes birds, the researchers of the Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve registered 15 species of these birds with total population of 14 000 individuals.
Due to mild and dry winter, the counts were limited to the term of March 22-27. Regardless of this inconvenience, Deputy Director for Science Evgeny Mamaev (PhD. Biology) and Ornithologist Dmitry Pilipenko covered 60% of Bering Island coastline – from Podutesnaya Bay through northern part of the island to Tolsty Cape.
On April 22, we also conducted marine counts in the western part of the island all the way to Monati Cape (southwestern part), where large numbers of rare the emperor goose are registered. This species is included in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation.
The most numerous wintering population is still of the harlequin duck – over 10 000 individuals. The second place is for Steller’s eider – over 2 000 birds. It is worth mentioning that this population has a decreasing trend. Within the last 4 years, the decrease is about 20%. Other species wintering on the islands are the common goldeneye, mallard duck, eider, emperor goose, pintail, American black scoter, American merganser, long-tailed duck and buffle-headed duck.
Besides, this year we registered the whooping swan and the greater scaup, which come on the islands for wintering irregularly. The coming of the wigeon and the common teal occurred very early this year.
“The overall population numbers of the counted birds this year are comparable with those of the recent years,” Dmitry Pilipenko said.
The Commander Islands are the northernmost wintering grounds of Anseriformes birds in the Far East of Russia. That is why monitoring of these species is one of the most important parts of our activity.