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On this place PTT bird Folkert fed long time (c) A. Kondratyev

Main goals of the expedition

Update data on the bird fauna of Kanin peninsula; estimate modern state of White-fronted geese during summer period; visit areas known as important spring staging sites of Western Palearctic population of White-fronted geese during spring migration according to PTT-supplied birds data; description and evaluation of the most important feeding habitats of White-fronted geese on Kanin peninsula during spring staging period; data collection of White-fronted and Bean geese feeding ecology during summer period; estimation of number and distribution of Bean geese on Kanin; census of modern state of the barnacle Goose colony in the western part of Kanin peninsula; catching , ringing and individual marking of geese on Kanin; questionnary data collection about distribution, efficiency and specific composition of spring hunting in the vicinity of western coast villages Shoina, Kia, Chizha and Nes.

 

Kanin penninsula: our study area

View to Shoina Lowland (c) A. Kondratyev

Main working area situated in the North-western part of Kanin peninsula, in lower reaches of Shoina river with extensive mudflats and laida habitats. Three times during the expedition time there were performed 2-4 days boat trips and walking routes south-eastwards with the aim to visit central watershed plains and also to explore all Shoina river valley within the reach of a shallow-sitting boat.

Birds fauna of Kanin

Data on the state of 72 bird species have been collected. Rare for the tundra zone bird species, such as Pallid Harrier, was found with the signs of breeding. One moulting Emperor Goose was observed in a flock of 6-7 hundreds of Barnacle geese. Whooper swans were found common and in some places abundant during moulting period. Their flocks of 2-4 to 15-20 individuals were scattered all over watershed tundra everywhere in the central part of Kanin.

Geese status on Kanin peninsula

Family of Bean Geese at Shoina river (c) A. Kondratyev

Only 7 broods of White-fronted geese were seen altogether. All records were done on the border of high laida and peat hummocks in the north-eastern corner of Shoina river delta. In the watershed tundra only one individual of White-fronted geese was seen in a flock of one hundred moulting non-breeding Bean geese. Several places where White-fronted geese were numerous on Kanin during spring staging period have been visited, including those, where satellite-transmitted birds were tracked in May 2006-2010. All these habitats were extensive watershed peat hummocks, where the geese were intensively feeding in spring either in boggy depressions between hummocks or in soggy water-runs through the boggy plateaus. In all cases the geese were feeding by the stembases of extremely abundant Slender Cotton-Grass Eriophorum polystachion growing in sphagnum depressions. General area of these these feeding habitats may reach, by preliminary estimations, about 30-40% of the total area of all Kanin tundra, including east of Kanin peninsula and southern coast of Cheshskaya bay.
The basis of summer geese population on Kanin is presented by Bean Geese, which are numerous both on breeding and during moulting of non-breeders. Barnacle geese colony in the mouth of Shoina river may be estimated nowadays as having 8-10 000 breeding pairs. Just in the mouth of the next river Kia, situated southwards, the Barnacle geese breed sporadically in a number of 2-4 pairs.

Neckbanding of geese

Neckbaning of Bean Geese (c) A. Kondratyev

In the end of July and in early August we made several catching attemts in the lower reaches of Shoina river and its tributaries in order to ring and colour-mark breeding Bean Geese in grown-up broods. As a result 21 individuals (8 adults and 13 juveniles) were colour marked with yellow neck-bands.

Expedition dates and participants

Participants of expedition (c) A. Kondratyev

Joint expedition of Russian Goose Group (RGG) to Kanin peninsula took place from 2.07 till 9.08.2010. Expedition participants were K. Litvin, O.Anisimova, S. Rozenfeld, M. Ivanov (Moscow), A. Kondratyev, E.Zayanagutdinova, P. Kondratyev (St-Petersburg). Financial support of the expedition was given by VogelschutzCommittee and Russian Bird Ringing Center.