polder Mönkebude in spring 2021

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Breeding season 2022

Already at the time of the birds' spring migration, the project areas offer the resting target species attractive spaces for foraging or resting. Numerous snipe use the meadows and pastures, which are often still wet on the surface. Ruffed Sandpipers have also been observed regularly passing through the polders, spending their time mating. Thus, breeding is quite conceivable here, if further work is done on the quality of the boundary conditions.

In the northern areas, Dunlins migrate through, and their breeding success is less likely but not impossible. The areas are also important for a variety of other protected birds, so any measures will benefit them as well.

The breeding season was mixed. On the island Struck, numbers stagnated at a low level, the number of breeding birds in the meadows of Freesendorf Wiesen was comparable to the previous year, and breeding success continued to be low. In addition to the target species of the project, Sand Plover, Oystercatcher as well as Avocet, which are among the rarer breeding birds in the area, breed regularly.

The re-established areas on the island Großer Wotig were well accepted by the breeding birds, breeding success is likely.

Water level and vegetation structure was ideal at the beginning of the breeding period in the polder Bugewitz, photo: P. Martini, 10.03.2022


In 2022, a total of 11 breeding pairs of lapwings bred in the polders of Rosenhagen and Bugewitz. There was a slight increase compared to previous years, as the habitat conditions were very good. In the polder of Mönkebude, conditions were also ideal in 2022. A total of two pairs of black-tailed godwits, 4 pairs of redshanks, 26 pairs of lapwings, and numerous other small birds tied to extensively used wet meadows were breeding. Lapwings, redshanks and godwits fledged and left these areas flying.

The first territorial activities in the northern areas were already recorded during the warm phase in March. Among others, the first nests were established in the Freesendorfer Wiesen. After a cold spell, the lapwings abandoned these first clutches. The cold spell extended into the third decade of April and then transitioned into a prolonged dry spell during which the areas dried out quickly. Conditions were very unsuitable and breeding activity in lapwings ceased in all areas. In the second decade of May, higher water levels occurred again. Thanks to the upgrading of the tideway network in the previous year, the depressions were filled with water again. The breeding habitats were then attractive again and breeding was resumed. At the beginning of June, several families with young were on the move, many of them fledged. For the first time, breeding success was also observed in the pastoral meadows in the NSG Großer Wotig. On the island Struck, in the Freesendorfer Wiesen and in NSG Großer Wotig breeding success was recorded with the lapwings. Redshanks were less affected by the cold spring and dry period and also had breeding success on the Struck and Freesendorfer Wiesen, but not in the NSG Großer Wotig. In the case of the Plovers, only a few pairs were successful in the Freesendorf Wiesen. Avocets attempted to breed in Freesendorfer Wiesen in late April (aborted due to drought) and then again in late May in the clutch fence. However, they were not successful.

Thus, breeding success in 2022 was mixed and will have achieved stock-sustaining reproduction at most for Lapwing and Redshank. However, the evaluation of the monitoring of the breeding season 2022 has not yet been completed.

Lapwing cub Photo: Kai Paulig


In addition to monitoring the breeding birds, it became necessary to identify the predators present and to begin targeted monitoring here as well. In order to take measures to increase breeding success, it is necessary to know what effects predators have on breeding birds. For this purpose, a thermal imaging camera was purchased so that during the main activity time of the night, it can be determined who is present and what damage is occurring there. At the same time, 3 wildlife cameras were installed at selected sites. Observations with the thermal imaging camera and recordings from the wildlife cameras provide clear information about which predators are present. For example, in the polder of Mönkebude during the breeding season, at least two marten were observed walking across the breeding area inside the clutch protection fence.

A stone marten inspects an artificial burrow, photo: wildlife camera automatic


The monitoring of water levels in 2022 again yielded interesting facts about what is happening under the turf. Management of peatland grassland is possible with high water levels under current management conditions. Existing water management facilities would need to be further adapted and expanded to further stabilized water levels. The knowledge gained from monitoring water levels expands the expertise in managing fens while water levels are high. During several professional events, these long-term measurement series could be presented to a broad audience from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern but also from other federal states.

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