wystpienie_MKOn 26-29th September in Haapsalu (Estonia) Natura International Poland had the opportunity to present parts of the outcome of the great snipe conservation project at the 44th International Wader Study Group meeting. Results of the studies employing telemetry and aimed at evaluating habitat selectivity of great snipes demonstrated, among others, that males of this species can move between lekking sites as far as 70 km within one night.

DSCN1321From 20th to 23rd May we have hosted researchers from Estonian University of Life Sciences in PTOP's field station in Kalitnik. The aim of the visit was to exchange experiences relating to the scientific part of the great snipe conservation project. At its beginning – in late fall 2012 – we have visited the University's site in Tartu, where experts investigating this species for 20 years shared with us valuable information on performing habitat and telemetric studies. This time, we had the chance to present our results and show great snipes' sanctuaries in the Podlasie region, an in the Upper Narew River Valley in particular.

On the first day, we have visited selected most interesting sites in the Gródek-Michałów Depression, among others the Gorbacz nature reserve and a lekking site located in meadows managed by PTOP, whereas near the field station in Kalitnik we observed predators – a lesser spotted eagle, an European honey buzzard, and a Montagu's harrier. A great ornithological attraction for our guests was a hoopoe, extremely rare in Estonia. In the evening, we have acquainted ourselves with preliminary results on migration pathways of the Estonian population. Andres Kuresoo desribed a visit to Ethiopia, where a part of the migrating birds take rest, and Michał Korniluk presented results of telemetric and habitat studies which we have collected last year.

szukanie_ladw_erowaniaWe have spent the next day by the Narew River, where, divided in two groups, equipped with VHF antennas, we have been tracking great snipes. From sites, where startling of foraging birds was observed, soil samples for entomological studies were collected, and parameters characterizing microhabitats – such as soil humidity and cohesiveness – were measured. We have also taken notes on vegetation structure and the behavior of startled individuals.

In the evening, we have visited the lekking site in order to capture birds and fit them with further transmitters. Unfortunately, he site was not active that evening, and therefore we have not managed to capture any great snipes. We have, on the other hand, received several helpful suggestions concerning methods of successful captures.

On the third day, the Estonian delegation visited Siemianówka and Białowieża Primeval Forest, and – upon their return – joined us in the Upper Narew River Valley. There, we have visited, among others, one of the historical great snipe lekking sites, and a site discovered this year for the first time, where by counting calling birds and using flashlights we have established the number of lekking individuals. On Friday morning, we bade farewell to our guests, who continued to the Biebrza River Valley, where they had the chance to observe aquatic warblers and white-winged terns.


michalIMG_2873As is widely known, birds do not recognize state borders. This concerns also great snipes during their lekkings, as has been clearly evidenced in last year's telemetric studies. It has turned out that males move between lekking sites distanced by many kilometers from each other. In doing this, they do not stick to the Upper Narew River Valley only. PTOP and Natura International Polska Foundation representatives have undertaken to follow one of the studied males and visit Belarus – the county which can pride itself with second to Russia largest lowland population of great snipes, estimated at 4.6-6 thousands of males. Below, we present the report from PTOP President Tomasz Kułakowski on the visit to Belarus.

"End of February and beginning of March (28.02 – 2.03) we have paid a diplomatic visit to our friends from around the corner, namely in APD BirdLife Belarus. This organization, or, in fact, its branch in Grodno, was founded in late 90s thanks to our support, and – in spite of its slightly modified mode of operation, it still relies on well-established members and activists. The three of us, including Michał Korniluk and Jarek Stepaniuk, have taken up on the invitation sent to us by Dymitr Vinchesky and Yevgen Sliz. On Friday evening, in a modest team, we have helped in preparing conference materials, and on Saturday our talks were already included in the meeting programme. We have shown the achievements of the Life+ Project "Active protection of the great snipe Gallinago media in the Upper Narew River Valley Natura 2000 site": Michał's presentation has triggered a vivid discussion and a storm of questions. We were also keen to learn about the activity of APB and the conditions of conservation works in Belarus. The circumstances are tough, and the main focus of APB's actions were monitoring, outreach and presence in media. During the evening debate we have proposed an initiative aiming at facilitating contacts, visits and exchange of experience. Our plans are also to identify the opportunities of cooperation in relation to projects realized in both countries (e.g., concerning wetlands or the great snipe). The evening banquet with its numerous florid speeches and toasts , ended long after midnight, and on Sunday morning we were already setting off in the field! The aim was to discover a new lekking site, unknown to our Belarussian colleagues, but visited by our birds (results of GPS studies by Michał's team). With the support of Nikolay Cherkas, a laptop, and multiple study methods, we have discovered this magic site at the edge of the Wild Nikor. The wetlands which we have crossed by car on the way resembled our Biebrza, and the lekking site itself – PTOP's reserve Rabinówka! We will keep you updated about the outcome of our actions on the "eastern front".


1465366_409288345840425_1978139066_nOn November 23rd-24th Lublin Ornithological Society met in Janów Lubelski. The participants were the first persons in Poland to learn the preliminary results of telemetric studies carried out on great snipes this year. The acquired data has surprised everyone and triggered a vivid discussion, among others, on migrations of great snipes between lekking sites, and – what follows – on the efficiency of methods employed up to now to evaluate their population size.

It is noteworthy that the location where the results have been presented was chosen by Michał Korniluk for a good reason – the Lublin Region is the second most important area of occurrence of the species in Poland. The visit was also an opportunity to discuss details of cooperation with ornithologists from the area in the framework of the National Conservation Plan for the Great Snipe in Poland, being established now.

Scientific visit to Latvia and EstoniaUp to now no studies have been carried out in Poland to specifically address the habitat preferences of the great snipe. It was therefore one of the important goals of our project to complete the knowledge on this topic. With this aim we have visited Latvia and Estonia. The visit was also an excellent opportunity to establish contacts with other beneficiaries of the Life+ programme.


pdf Visit.pdf

Szw4On August 26th we have met the Swedish delegation engaged in the "Reclaim" project implemented since one year within the framework of the Life+ programme. The project is carried out in the Örebro in mid-southern Sweden, and its aim is the active protection of important wetland habitats and associated rare species of plants and animals. This project is undertaken by the local county council.

It turns out that, just like us, the Swedes have to face the consequences of abandonment of traditional land use in wetland areas and of the decline of semi-natural vegetation communities formed by grazing and scything. For this reason the meeting was an excellent opprtunity to exchange experiences and present our actions in the field. During a walk on the meadows near Trześcianka we were able to have a look at the scything of reeds and to introduce our guests to the characteristics of the upper Narew River Valley. Thereafter we visited a farm cooperating with PTOP which breeds koniks (Polish primitive horses), and we had an opportunity to admire the Orthodox church in the nearby Puchły.

More information about the "Reclaim" project can be found on its internet site.


During the 17th Science Picnic, which took place at the National Stadium in Warsaw, the Institute of Biology of the University of Białystok was one of the presenting institutions. The students brought along a piece of the Podlasie wetlands. There were wooden bird figurines, bird rings, photos of animals, living insects, and, on T-shirts, great snipes from the upper Narew River Valles were proudly presented. Over 5 thousand people visited the stand. Many visitors had their photos taken in the company of a dummy wearing a T-shirt promoting our project. This way the great snipes made it up to the capital.


The official launch of the LIFE + project 'Active protection of the great snipe (Gallinago media) in the Natura 2000 site Upper Narew Valley' will take place at the conference centre 'ASTORIA', at Sienkiewicz 4 Street, in Bialystok on the 4th of March 2013.

The purpose of the meeting is to present the objectives of the project, issues related to the protection of the great snipe in the Upper Narew Valley and to exchange experiences related to the implementation of similar projects. We hope that the knowledge and experience of the participants will be a valuable support in the best possible implementation of the project. We would like to encourage experts, representatives of the relevant institutions and organizations interested in the protection of nature as well as the individuals involved in the implementation of the various activities associated with the project to participate in the meeting and discussions.

Below is the program of the meeting and the registration form. Please contact Dominika Musiał - tel 85 664 22 55 (Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript.).

Sekretariat PTOP

ul. Ciepła 17 15-471 Białystok tel./fax.: 85 664 22 55, 85 6754862 sekretariat@ptop.org.pl

Biuro Regionalne w Olsztynie

ul. Murzynowskiego 18, 10-684 Olsztyn, tel./fax.: 89 533 68 66 smenderski@ptop.org.pl

Gospodarstwo rolne PTOP

Żywkowo 7 11-220 Górowo Iławeckie tel./fax.: 89 761 82 07 zywkowo@ptop.org.pl

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