Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

As part of task F.4 "Creating a networking with other projects", we organized our first study trip to Bulgaria. The trip took place on 25-30 September, with the participation of employees of the PTOP - 6 people, and of the Biebrza National Park - 1 person, and of the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley - 1 person as well.

The first project we visited was "Life for the Burgas lakes", carried out in the Burgas city area on the Black Sea coast by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. There are extensive, shallow lagoons in this area, which are a very important resting point for the 1.5 million migratory birds flying over the area on their way south every year. 333 of the 420 species seen in Bulgaria can be observed in this area. This project included i.a. the collision protection of power lines, the task is analogous to the activities carried out in our stork project. Project website: www.burgaslakes.org, LIFE08NAT/BG/000277.

Another project that we visited was "Life for safe grid", conducted by the EVN, a company that produces and supplies electricity. The main aim of the project was also to protect power lines against collisions. The priority species here is the Eastern imperial eagle, a bird particularly vulnerable to collisions with these devices. The eagle's population is 29 couples throughout entire Bulgaria, and it is another project in Bulgaria which aims to protect these birds under the LIFE programme. We were very lucky enough to see two specimens! EVN employees, our field guides, have only seen these birds several times. Official website of the project: www.lifeforsafegrid.bg, LIFE12 NAT/BG/000572.

On the third day we met with representatives of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation to get acquainted with the "Salt of Life” project. This task is carried out in the area of one of the lagoons with the highest salinity of water - over 22%. In this place, a part of the water is enclosed with special wooden partitions, forming tanks from which cooking salt is extracted. The Foundation is renovating the system of these barriers and is rebuilding the rainwater drainage channels in order to preserve this unique European ecosystem. In this area, the Pied avocet is protected in particular, and we had the pleasure of observing groups of Flamingos, Dalmatian pelicans and several thousand birds of prey, including over a thousand Lesser spotted eagles, during an hour-long observation. Project website: www.saltoflife.biodiversity.bg, LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362.

On the last day of our trip to Bulgaria we visited the White stork village Belozem, located in the central part of the country. The village is surrounded by vast plains with arable fields, the landscape is very different from wet meadows, the places of foraging of White storks in northeastern Poland. Belozem's trademark is a primary school building located in the centre of the village, with several nests on its red roof. Apparently, for many years the school management has been concerned about the preservation of the Stork population, because we have not found a single nest on roofs of other buildings, including private houses covered with red tiles. Single nests are located on power poles and on the church tower. A festival dedicated to White storks takes place every year in Belozem. You can find more information on theis event here: http://www.greenbalkans.org/bg/XII_Festival_na_Beliya_shtyrkel_s_Belozem_13_may_2017_g_-p6341-y2017.

The task was carried out within the project "Protection of the white stork in river valleys of the eastern Poland" LIFEciconiaPL LIFE15 NAT/PL/000728 co-financed by the European Commission from the LIFE Programme and the Vogelschutz Komitet e.V. programme.

 

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