Ministry of natural resources of the Russian federation

       Polistovsky National Nature Reserve

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June 7 - Study of the black-throated loon population

Study of the black-throated loon population

чернозобая гагара, Полистовский заповедник, фото: Оскар Сайфуллин

Specialists of Polistovsky Reserve found a pair of black-throated loons listed in Red Data Book of Russia, during an expedition on studying the population of this rare species.

For four days, three intra-bog lakes were surveyed - Russkoe, Mezhnitskoe and Kokarevskoye, black-throated loon nests on the banks of them. As a result, they managed to find one pair of loons, however, they behaved calmly and showed no signs of anxiety, typical for nesting birds.

«We met black-throated loons on the third day of the expedition on Russkoe Lake. Two birds were swimming there, however, despite the appropriate season, they did not show signs of nesting behavior. Did not worry about approaching people, behaving calmly and just moving around all the lake. We watched the loons for a long time, they allowed us to take pictures of them, but the nest was not found», - said Oskar Sayfullin, a researcher at Polistovsky Reserve.

чернозобая гагара, Полистовский заповедник, фото: Оскар Сайфуллин

Volunteers from Moscow and Kaluga took part in the expedition, they were engaged in photographing the wildlife of the Reserve. Along with the landscapes of the bog, they also photographed a pair of black-throated loons floating on the lake.

Observations of the black-throated loons will continue in the next field season. This species is observed in Polistovsky Reserve annually, since the bird feels comfortable and safe on remote, hard-to-reach inta-bog lakes. The Reserve is an important nesting site for this rare and vulnerable species. 

From previous observations (2004, 2007, 2008) it is known that the loons nested in the Reserve on Lake Dolgoe. In 2004, the estimated population size was 6 pairs, but each year the number of birds noted in Polistovsky Reserve is different, as the loons can nest in other parts of the bog, for example, in the nearby Rdeisky Reserve.

чернозобая гагара, Полистовский заповедник, фото: Оскар Сайфуллин

The black-throated loon (Gavia arctica) – rare and very peculiar waterfowl, the European subspecies is included in the Red Data Book of Russia. In the breeding plumage it is easy to recognize it by the gray color of the back of  the neck and head, contrasting black and white plumage and red eyes. The loon is a wonderful swimmer and diver, but is almost incapable of moving overland due to pawsd isplaced backward. The nest is located on the very edge of the shore, so that in case of danger the bird can slide off directly into the water.

The life of the loon is closely related to the extensive raised bogs and intra-bog lakes, on the banks of which it nests. Unlike many other waterfowl, the black-throated loon does not tolerate mass visiting of the nesting lakes by people during incubation, and as the number of pristine lakes, not visited by people, is decreasing, the loon population is steadily declining.

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