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Publication number 57. Stichting WIWO

Title: Breeding waders at Medusa Bay, western Taimyr, in 1996
Author(s): Tulp I., L.W. Bruinzeel, J. Jukema & O. Stepanova
Publication date: 1997


In the summer of 1996 a Dutch expedition was undertaken to Medusa Bay, western Taimyr. The expedition period lasted from June 11 until July 25, the actual stay in the study area started on June 19 and ended on July 21. The studies undertaken included: monitoring of breeding bird densities in a defined area, recording breeding succes of waders, recording habitat preferences by means of tundra type mapping, recording seasonal abundance of arthropod fauna, trapping and ringing of adult waders, studying nest incubation schedules in Little Stints, recording body mass dynamics in Little Stints and Curlew Sandpipers and measuring energy expenditure of incubating Little stints using the doubly-labelled water method.
Although 1996 was supposed to be an intermediate year in the three year lemming cycle, Collared Lemmings were relatively abundant. This allowed Rough-legged Buzzard, Snowy Owl and skuas to breed succesfully. All these predators were predominantly feeding on lemmings and seemed to have no difficulty in finding enough lemmings for their offspring. Arctic foxes were never observed. Brent Geese were breeding in congregations close to Snowy Owl and in lesser numbers in the vicinity of Rough-legged Buzzards nets.
Total estimated nest density of breeding waders was 49 nests/km2. Since we are convinced that we did not find all nest of especially Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper this figure should be regarded as an absolute minimum. The most abundant species were Little Stint (total 74 nests) and Curlew sandpipers (total 71 nests).
Breeding succes of most breeding waders was very high. The probability of surviving a mean incubation period of 21 days was 86% on average. In total 140 adult birds and 189 chicks were trapped and ringed.

The report contains:
  • Information on study area and weather conditions
  • Chapters on availability of Arthropods and occurence of Lemmings
  • Data on breeding waders, biometrics and energetics of incubation
  • Appendices of observed bird- and mammel species
  • A Russian summary