Latest update from the Polish project we recently wrote about:
The project “Strengthening the role of waterbodies in Górażdże Group mining sites for conservation of island-breeding birds” is nearly completed. The Polish Society for the Protection of Birds and Górażdże Group worked on several existing and new islands in three Górażdże gravel pits. The aim was to give a boost to several species of breeding birds in Southern Poland. Did they succeed?
After performing bird monitoring we can surely say “Yes”! Removing bushes and trees on the island in Malerzowice quarry created a breeding place for a record number of Black-headed Gulls (more than 600 breeding pairs) and the highest number of Common Terns since 2006 (15 breeding pairs). Clearing of islands in Wójcice mining site also increased the number of breeding birds – the population of Black-headed Gulls was one of the highest ever (almost 2000 breeding pairs) and the number of Mediterranean Gulls (10 pairs) and Common Tern (70 pairs) also increased comparing to previous year.
On the floating concrete islands (first time in Poland!) in Nowogród Bobrzański quarry we recorded 2 nests of Common Terns and 2 nests of Black-headed Gulls. This was a good sign, showing that birds like this new home but, based on experiences of Czech colleagues with this kind of islands, we expect many more to breed in the coming years. The sandy island in Malerzowice mining was created by cutting off the base of a peninsula, was not occupied by nesting birds and it serves so far only as a resting place for large flocks of gulls. The moderate results obtained in the case of provision of new islands might be linked with the fact that they were available for birds quite late in the season, when most of the birds have already found other places to breed, so for the full effects of establishing new islands we need to wait till the next breeding season.
The project was fruitful – the results confirm the large potential of mining sites for protecting rare and endangered birds species and proved that some simple measures might highly improve bird populations in such places. We will continue to monitor its effects on birds in the future. And there is still a lot to do for the conservation of birds inhabiting islands…
The project “Strengthening the role of waterbodies in Górażdże Group mining sites for conservation of island-breeding birds” is carried out by Polish Society for the Protection of Birds, and funded by the Partnership programme between BirdLife International and HeidelbergCement Group, and by Górażdże company.