May 2017 – Amazing weeks for forest birds

Bird experts reported about amazing weeks in the history of Montenegrin ornithology. Besides impressive data collection in the Zeta river during observations by a kayak census, the real highlight was the search of capercaillie – also known as the wood grouse – in the northern mountains area. Borut Rubinić, Slovenian bird expert, remembered: ‘We started with checking the data obtained by local inhabitants and experts and found three possible leks on the first day – a location where male birds of the same species gather and present displays and where females go to select a male to mate with.  On the second day of field research the sensation was perfect, checking the area around Hridsko lake, we found a MEGALEK with 18!!! singing males that day. This big lek is probably one of the largest in ex-Yugoslavia and in the whole of Balkans! The place is absolutely amazing and showed us how wrong we were on the first day when we were searching for capercaillies in altitudes lower by 200 or 300 m ! The lesson learnt is that this bird species should be searched between 1,850 and 2,100 m a.s.l. in a habitat of Molika pine or Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce) and blackberry carpets under the canopy! And not in spruce forests between 1,500 and 1,700 m, where we were first searching for them. The inventory revealed 2 more leks with 2 males next day and an amazing another MEGALEK with 14 singing males in this area!!! Altogether, we found 8 leks with 38 singing males in three days, what is absolutely fantastic and witnesses how important the northern mountains are for this species’.