Summer on the breeding grounds

posted in: Follow the flock, Latest posts | 0

During an initial period of warm weather in mid April the first returning Sociable Lapwings were found back around the project study site at Korgalzhyn in central Kazakhstan. Their arrival coincided with news of one of our satellite-tagged birds – Abaj – returning too.

Normally, returning lapwings start to build up in numbers quite quickly after the first birds arrive but this summer a strong northerly wind at the end of April led to the delayed return of the majority of breeding birds. In these cold conditions many other waders also appeared to be held up in their migration.  The cold, wet weather also delayed breeding for some time. While pairs formed and courtship was witnessed among the first returning birds, laying was delayed until the weather changed and had warmed up in early May.

During the first two weeks of May more Sociable Lapwings started arriving again and from then on territories were soon established and many new nests were found. In total, 96 nests were located by the ACBK study team this year.

In the main picture above you can see ACBK study team members; Timur and Ksusha monitoring one of the Sociable Lapwings’ nests.

Following favourable breeding conditions in May, the weather then turned again and, throughout June and July, uncharacteristically  high levels of wind and rain were witnessed. The higher than average rainfall led to the steppe grasses growing very high which subsequently made locating nests and ringing chicks more difficult than usual.

Food however was abundant and it is not believed the adverse weather negatively effected nesting success this year.