20 stork nests were found in Khingano-Arkharinskaya lowland
Khingano-Arkharinskaya lowland is a new model area where stork survey will be carried out. Stork nest survey is held here for the first time in the last 10 years. The work was done with the support of UNDP / GEF Project, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia and WWF.
'Khingano-Arkharinskaya lowland is a unique and valuable territory in terms of bird species diversity. It includes three protected areas of federal and regional level. Oriental stork nests survey in this area will help to estimate the impact of the catastrophic flood in 2013, as well as the changes caused by the launch of the Nizhne-Bureinskaya HPP,” - comments Petr Osipov, Amur program coordinator of WWF-Russia.
The total length of survey routes is about 450 km. It was mostly covered by snowmobiles or by cars on existing roads. During the survey, 20 nests of rare birds were registered in the area, excluding the territory of Khingansky Nature Reserve. The second stage of monitoring will be held in May and June 2015, during stork nesting period. At the same time, the number of stork chicks in the nests will be calculated to assess the total population numbers.
“The early spring monitoring of Oriental stork nests in Arkharinsky district is needed to obtain basic information about nest locations. Searching for new nests is easier in winter, when there is no foliage on the trees, and the nests are visible from a much greater distance. Moreover, the stork nests are usually located on wetlands, where the search is also easier in winter on snowmobiles. So by the warm period all nest positions are exactly known and ready to be examined”, - says Yury Gafarov, director of AmurSEU, specialist of the Directorate of Protected Areas of Amurskaya Province.
Besides the basic issue of nest location, rangers conducted a preliminary assessment of the ecosystems of the south of Arkharinsky district in 'Ganukan” Wildlife Refuge. This specially protected area for a long time was under the supervision of Khingansky Nature Reserve. However, due to changes in the law, it must be returned to the jurisdiction of the regional environmental authorities that requires changes to its protection status and an integrated environmental survey.