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In early spring the geese have to cope with food of low quality (c) H. Kruckenberg

Olonets fields - goose staging site east of Lake Ladoga

Lake Ladoga is the largest sweetwater lake of Europe. On east shore of the lake there is Olonets city. Altogether four kolhoz farmed here since 1930th on cultivated bogs. So pasture and agricultural field can be found. Caused by the argicultural management and the lake close by Olonets fields became an important staging site for arctic breeding geese during the last decades. More than 20.000 Whitefronted and Bean Geese staging here temporaly.
Protection for geese at Olonets field Because of the decrease in agriculture the staging site of Olonets was in danger in the beginning of the 1990th. Closure of farms and suspension of fields was the consequence. Within some years the feeding sites of geese would be overgrown by trees. So WWF Schweden together with Baltic Fund for Natur (BFN) started a project to maintain local farms for goose protection. More information you`ll find here.

Personal expedition report

Matthias Fanck, artist from Frankonia and bird watcher since many years, took part in our Ladoga expedition. He also was our specialist in preparation for travelling and expedition as well as for the 4wheel cars. Read his report here.

Studies at Olonets Fields

With several cars we checked the area and scanned flocks for collars (c) H. Kruckenberg

Since 2002 collegues from Petrosavosk do daily counts of the staging sites in the area. In 2003 Alexander Kondratyev observed several marked geese. One of our aims of the shared expedition of Russian and German goose specialist was to intensify the identification of roosting collar-marked birds. In combination with counts the importance of Olonets Fields as a stopover site for goose migration should be analysed. By measuring condition of the birds by using the abdominal profile index (API) we wanted to find out more about influence of hunting and disturbance in the area. Also we measured flushing distances of the staging geese.
To find more pictures of the Olonets expedition, klick here.

Intensive spring hunting

One of third of shot birds were offsprings (c) H. Kruckenberg

In all countries of EU and signatories of the AEWA spring hunting is banned. Russia and Belorussia however didn`t sign the AEWA convention so far. So spring hunting is done very intensifly in both countries. While 1/3 of the Olonets field is stated as a bird sanctuary and guarded by the police during hunting period, the rest of Olonets region is used by locals and foreigners for hunting. In the beginning of hunting period 30th of April we counted more than 300 shoots per hour in the area close to our station. Already on second day more or less no geese were resting outside the sanctuary anymore. The measured flushing distances showed a significant correlation with start of hunting season.

 

Thanks to Vogelschutzkomitee e.V. (VSK) for financial support.