BSPB took part in the AEWA International field mission to Kazakhstan


© Nicky Petkov

From September 24 to October 7 this year, foreign experts from around Europe took part in a field mission in Kazakhstan under the auspices of AEWA Secretariat, which aimed to assess the populations of migratory geese during autumn in Kazakhstan. Among the targeted species were Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose. The BSPB took part in the international team with Dr. Nikolai Petkov, coordinator of the AEWA International Working Group for the Red-breasted Goose. Participation in the expedition took experts from Finland, Hungary and the UK, helping the local experts from the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan /the BirdLife International partner in Kazakhstan/.

Within 15 days the experts divided into four teams that had to go through and survey numerous wetlands located in the North of Kazakhstan. Field teams received information on the movements of satellite tagged lesser white-fronted geese by colleagues from NOF/BirdLife Norway, to help tune up the field work.

Autumn of 2016 was quite unpredictable and due to the relatively high temperatures in the north of Russia and Kazakhstan itself, migration of geese was quite late and by the end of September, little birds have flown in Kazakhstan. Only at the end of the month weather deterioration pushed migratory wave to the south and many thousands of White-fronted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose and Red-breasted Goose headed to Kazakhstan. This time, they took directly to stage in the south lakes Taldikol, Kulikol and Russian Zharkol and other, where over 500 000 geese were registered by the teams. At the same time major lakes in the north as Koybagor were left with extremely low numbers.

Usually geese on their migration in Kazakhstan occupy the northern lakes and until late stationed in Kazakhstan heading to the southern lakes, which take later on to the next stage of their migration.

Participation in the field mission was important in terms of establishing the numbers of the global population of two endangered species. The BSPB as part of the coordination of the working group of Red-breasted Goose continues its efforts to improve international action for its conservation along the migration route of the species and improving information and monitoring of the species in the key countries of the flyway.

AEWA, BSPB, Kazakhstan, Red-breasted Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose