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Labanoras, woodpecker banquet
Written by Jos   

Though nine species of woodpecker breed in Lithuania, several have restricted ranges, occur in very low densities and are listed in the country's Red Data Book. For whatever the reason, in the course of an average year's birding, I would rarely see more than four or five species, perhaps six if I was lucky.

White-backed WoodpeckerWouldn't it be nice if that situation were to change! It had been my intention with the creation of a reserve to establish a feeding station that might attract in a few of these species, perhaps even one of the rarer ones! However, even in my wildest imagination, I could never have prepared myself for success that was to follow! The story begins back in the autumn of 2004 ...setting eyes upon the woodland at the heart of my soon-to-be reserve, the forest just screamed 'woodpecker'! I had found all the ingredients I was hoping for - a mix of mature deciduous trees, a lot of dead standing wood and a mosaic of habitats from dry woodland through to flood forest, the latter being alders and birches standing in a metre of water.

Step one was to establish the feeding station, a quiet spot on the divide between the dry and wet woodlands, step two was to wait. Soon the birds would arrive...

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 March 2017 )
 
August 2007. On the move, storks and waders.
Written by Jos   

White Stork orphanA month of farewells, birds were on the move - in days that remained hot and sunny,  White Storks and Rollers lingered at Labanoras but it was all go at Baltoji Voke! As the first pools were drained, there were birds galore -  amongst 20 wader species recorded, no less than five Broad-billed Sandpipers, plus Temminck's Stints, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers and totals of over a hundred Wood Sandpipers. Also Caspian Terns, flocks of over a hundred Great White Egrets and Black Storks, including one particularly impressive group of 23.

However, for all the birding highlights, the most satisfying news came from Kaunas - my  White Stork orphans had successfully returned to the wild, both they and their companions were migrating.

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 September 2007 )
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Rollers in Labanoras
Written by Jos   

RollerAt a national level, Rollers were still fairly widespread in Lithuania in the mid-1990s, occurring in their best numbers in southern and eastern parts of the country, most notably in Dzukija and Aukstaitija. In those days, two to three pairs bred at Baltoji Voke, another near Marcinkonys and it was a bird I would see with some regularity. Then came the decline, the national population slumped, the birds at Baltoji Voke disappeared and the species became locally extinct across many parts of the country. The decline, possibly due to changes on the wintering grounds, left Rollers in Lithuania in a precarious situation, a mere scattering of pairs in pockets across the former range.

In the current day, even in former strongholds of the Labanoras and Aukstaitija areas, the sighting of a Roller is a rare event. The population is quite probably down into the tens, almost certainly not much higher.

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 January 2013 )
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