Variation in the Extent of Greater Wing Coverts Moult in Robins (Erithacus rubecula) Migranting in Autumn Through the Polish Baltic Coast
Intra-seasonal variation in the number of unmoulted coverts in immature Robins caught during 2001-2003 autumn migrations was studied at two ringing stations (Mierzeja Wiślana and Bukowo-Kopań) located at the Polish Baltic coast. To determine the number of unmoulted greater wing coverts we counted immature-type coverts with light spots at tips. In the analyses data on the number of spotted coverts from ca 11 000 migrating individuals were used. We analysed the number of spotted coverts in each season and at each ringing station separately. Based on migration dynamics we distinguished migration waves and the number of spotted coverts were compared among the waves. Trends of seasonal changes in mean values of this parameter were assessed. To explain these tendencies, percentage distributions of wing spots for each wave were presented, with distinguished three categories: 0-3 (low), 4-5 (medium) and 6-8 (high) number of spotted coverts. Next, we compared distribution of this parameter among waves by Kruskal-Wallis and post-hoc Dunn's tests.
Late waves generally differed in the distributions of spotted coverts' number from the earlier ones in all seasons and at all stations. Our results showed the same tendencies within a season in all cases: the mean number of unmoulted coverts fluctuated in September, but starting from the end of this month and in October the trend was clearly increasing. This was due to changes in frequencies of Robins assigned to the distinguished categories - in September birds with medium number of spotted coverts constituted over 50% of all migrants, while in late September and/or October waves individuals with high number of spotted coverts predominated. Both in 2002 and 2003, the moment of the shift in this domination from birds with medium to those with high number of unmoulted coverts was synchronised between the two stations.
These intra-seasonal differences in moult advancement can be explained by two overlapping phenomena - subsequent migration over the Baltic coast of populations with different moult characteristics and by less advanced moult of birds from later broods. Correspondence of the observed trends in moult advancement with literature data on migration timing of Robins of different breeding origin and winter quarters indicates that the populational differences play an important role in the observed variation.
Autumn Migration of Waders (Charadrii) at the Reda Mouth (N Poland)
The migration of waders was investigated at the Reda mouth (Polish Baltic coast) between 1996 and 2001. During the study 496 counts were conducted in the period between 5 July and 5 October. The most numerous species observed were: the Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - 39.5% and Dunlin (Calidris alpina) - 29.8% of all waders. Because of a variety of habitats in the Reda mouth region, among the waders staging numerously in the Reda mouth there were species typical both for coastal and inland habitat. It was shown that birds from tundra zone migrated later than those from more southern breeding areas, which was caused by much later beginning of egg laying in northern latitudes. Moreover, in the species from tundra zone, e.g. the Knot (Calidris canutus), Little Stint (C. minuta), Curlew Sandpiper (C. ferruginea), the migration of both age classes were well separated, whereas in those from more southern areas, e.g. the Little Ringed Plover (Charadius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), such difference was less pronounced and the period of common passage of adults and juveniles was much longer. A comparison of the obtained data on migration pattern with some other sites in Poland where regular counts were conducted showed several similarities and some discrepancies, which are discussed in the paper.