June 2010

June marks the end of the incubation period for almost all the waterbird species that nest in the Sani wetlands. As a result, all the focus of the adult individuals was on raising their young and avoiding predators. During this period, it is relatively easy to observe families from several water bird species. The congregations of shelduck chicks in the Gerani wetland was impressive, with over 70 chicks observed. Families of coot, little crebe and moorhen were easily observed in both wetland lakes.

The increased level of water this year favoured the duck species which reproduce in the wetlands, the most important of which is the ferruginous duck, a globally endangered species. The observation of at least one family gave us much hope for the future presence of this species in the Sani wetlands.

Also, in June, the reproduction of the great crested grebe was recorded for first time. The species of herons presented us with much variety as 7 different species were observed. The observation of adult purple herons transporting material for the building of their nest in a central reed thicket of wetland was considered important, as it confirmed the suspicion we had in May, that at least two couples were reproducing in the wetlands. The second species of heron for which well-founded clues exist with regards to their reproduction in the wetlands is the little bittern.

Also, the presence of three spoonbill individuals was surprising as these birds are normally observed during this period in bigger wetlands of Northern Greece where they also reproduce. The individuals that were observed possibly abandoned their reproduction and their presence in the wetlands of is due to the species disseminating prior to making their autumn migration.

The lack of suitable islets for nesting due to the high level of waters in the wetlands constitutes the main reason for the reproduction only of a small population of waders. For example, the population of black-winged stilts this year was only 2 to 4 pairs, much lower than would be expected.

Five raptor species were observed; the more important observation was the confirmation of the reproduction of the hobby in the pinewoods that border the wetlands, as adult individuals were observed transporting food to nesting locations. Buzzard, kestrel and marsh harrier were also observed.

Many of the passerine species complete their reproductive circle in June. So in June, we observed families or small flocks of various species, such as starling, spanish sparrow, goldfinch and greenfinch. Nevertheless the song of migratory species, such as the nightingale, the black-headed bunting, the olivaceous warbler, the hoopoe and great reed warbler, continued unabated in morning and afternoon hours of the day, confirming the presence of pairs that are reproducing in the region.

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