Kuzminskiy forest – open habitat

Blackcap

Further east, where the more developed part of the park ends, the landscape changes into a more open habitat of peat bogs and grassy clearings, before it changes into thicker, wilder forest that streches on forever. Out in the open there is a marked change in avifauna composition. Red-backed shrike or Обыкновенный журлан (Lanius collurio) nest in Viburnum bushes, Spotted flycatcher or Серая мухоловка (Muscicapa striata), Tree pipit or  Лесной конек (Anthus trivialis) and Yellowhammer or Обыкновенная овсянка (Emberiza citrinella) can be spotted in the tall grasses of the peat bog.

Red-backed shrike

Red-backed shrike

Red-backed shrike

Red-backed shrike chick

Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Tree pipit

Tree pipit

Common raven or Ворон (Corvus corax) flies overhead. But primarily the open habitat is the domain of the warblers: Wood warbler – Пеночка трещетка (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Willow warbler – Пеночка весничка (Phylloscopus trochilus), Icterine Warbler – Зеленая пересмешка (Hippolais icterina), Garden warbler – Садовая славка (Sylvia borin), Common whitethroat – Серая славка (Sylvia communis), Blackcap – Черноголовая славка (Sylvia atricapilla), Blyth’s reed warbler – Садовая камышевка (Acrocephalus dumetorum) and Garden warbler – Садовая славка (Sylvia borin) can all be spotted here.

Garden warbler

Garden warbler

Common whitethroat

Common whitethroat

Icterine Warbler

Icterine Warbler

Willow warbler Yellowhammer femaleWhitethroat 2Spotted flycatcher Tree pipitWood warbler Red-backed shrike Chaffinch female

The edge habitat where the old growth forest meets the open grassland is the only place I have seen Northern Goshawk or Ястреб тетервятник (Accipiter gentilis) in the park. The bird flew very low across the path and disappeared in the forest. These species are known to be secretive and are hard to see in the wild. Once I heard an insistent gull-like call in the patch of the forest just before it meets the meadow. I followed the call, but the birds were very shy and were continuously moving away from me so that I only caught brief glimpses of them up in the canopy. I did, however, found their nest – an impressive structure made out of large sticks, sitting in the fork of a pine tree. The forest floor below was littered with half-eaten pigeon carcasses, bird bones, whitewash and shed feathers of the goshawks themselves. I did a thorough search to see if I could find some pellets, but only found one. It contained mainly fine bones, probably from small birds.

Blyth's reed warbler

Blyth’s reed warbler

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