The third year of ringing on the Chituc spit proved to be of an unexpected success: if the first 70 days of camp (from July 24th to October 1st) only 6459 birds were ringed, the last four weeks brought 5687 birds, among which two new species for the Romanian avifaunistic list and several species with less than 15 observations in the country.
One of the new entries to the Romanian list is the Green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus). A small, predominantly green bird, similar to the other leaf warbler species of Romania, which breeds in the Caucasus Mountains and in northern Turkey. Wintering in India, the likelihood of this species to appear in Central and Western Europe is small, with only 10 accepted records in this region between 1867 and 2016 (source: tarsiger.com). The first for Romania was captured on October 5, and was recaptured the following week in a good health condition.
The other new species for the Romanian fauna is the Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica). While it is a widespread species of Northern Europe and Asia, it can be considered a rare species in Central and Western Europe, because it spends the winter in East Asia (approx. 20 observations in Europe outside of breeding and migration area in the last 10 years; source: tarsiger.com).
Other rare species captured in 2016 on Chituc worth mentioning are also leaf warbler species: Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus, 2nd and 3rd observation of the species in Romania), Pallas’s Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus, 11th observation for Romania), and Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus; the 11th, 12th and 13th observation for Romania).
On the other side, the most abundant species in 2016 were the Robin (Erithacus rubecula, 1886 individuals), Red-breasted Flycather (Ficedula parva, 1614 individuals), Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus, 762 individuals), Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita, 758 individuals) and European Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus, 703 individuals). We added to the camp-list common species also in 2016: Redwing (Turdus iliacus, 3 individuals), Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax, 2 individuals) and Hobby (Falco subbuteo, 2 individuals).
2016 was a good year in terms of recaptures for the camp also: on the first day of the camp we learned of the recapture of a Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) ringed by us on the 9th of September, 2014, which was controlled at Shabla Tuzla, Bulgaria, on the 18th of June, 111 km away from the place of ringing. Also on the first day we captured a Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) ringed on April 24, 2016 in Polis, a town in the northwestern part of Cyprus. Later on, in September, two reed warblers ringed by us were recaptured in Israel, one of them in Eilat ringing camp and the other one in Ein Afek Reserve.
After the unexpected success of 2016 we hope to continue our work in the coming years, studying the autumn migration of species crossing Chituc spit, and eventually we will try to cover the spring migration period also, for comparison.
We wish to thank our ringers and volunteers for their efforts this year, working with maximum professionalism from the first hour to darkness in each of the 98 days of camp. Hopefully they felt themselves as good as we did, and we will have the opportunity to work again together next year also!