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  • 297

    Breeding and overland flight of red- throated divers Gavia stellata at Smøla, Norway, in relation to the Smøla wind farm D.J. Halley P. Hopshaug

  • NINA Publications NINA Report (NINA Rapport) This is a new, electronic series beginning in 2005, which replaces the earlier series NINA commis- sioned reports and NINA project reports. This will be NINA’s usual form of reporting completed re- search, monitoring or review work to clients. In addition, the series will include much of the insti- tute’s other reporting, for example from seminars and conferences, results of internal research and review work and literature studies, etc. NINA report may also be issued in a second language where appropriate. NINA Special Report (NINA Temahefte) As the name suggests, special reports deal with special subjects. Special reports are produced as required and the series ranges widely: from systematic identification keys to information on impor- tant problem areas in society. NINA special reports are usually given a popular scientific form with more weight on illustrations than a NINA report. NINA Factsheet (NINA Fakta) Factsheets have as their goal to make NINA’s research results quickly and easily accessible to the general public. The are sent to the press, civil society organisations, nature management at all lev- els, politicians, and other special interests. Fact sheets give a short presentation of some of our most important research themes. Other publishing In addition to reporting in NINA’s own series, the institute’s employees publish a large proportion of their scientific results in international journals, popular science books and magazines.

  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

    Breeding and overland flight of red- throated divers Gavia stellata at Smøla, Norway, in relation to the Smøla wind farm D.J. Halley P. Hopshaug

  • NINA Report 297

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    Halley, D.J. & Hopshaug, P. 2007. Breeding and overland flight of red-throated divers Gavia stellata at Smøla, Norway, in relation to the Smøla wind farm. – NINA Report 297. 26 pp.

    Trondheim, October 2007

    ISSN: 1504-3312 ISBN: 978-82-426-1859-7

    COPYRIGHT © Norwegian Institute for Nature Research The publication may be freely cited where the source is ac- knowledged

    AVAILABILITY Open

    PUBLICATION TYPE Digital document (pdf)

    QUALITY CONTROLLED BY K. Bevanger

    SIGNATURE OF RESPONSIBLE PERSON Research director Inga E. Bruteig

    CLIENT(S) AMEC

    CLIENTS’ CONTACT PERSON(S) Rhona I. Disberry

    COVER PICTURE Smøla windfarm (photo Kjetil Bevanger)

    KEY WORDS Smøla; red-throated diver; Gavia stellata; windfarm; wind tur- bines; distribution; breeding; flight; population NØKKELORD Smøla; smålom; Gavia stellata; vindkraft; distribusjon; hekkebio- logi; fluktadferd; bestand

    CONTACT DETAILS

    office NO- 7485 Trond- heim Nor- way

    NINA head

    Phone:

    NINA Oslo

    NINA Troms ø Polar- miljø- sente- ret NO- 9296

    NINA Lille- ham- mer Fak- kelgår- den NO- 2624

    Gausta-

    dalléen 21 NO- 0349 Oslo Norway

    Phone: Troms Lille

  • NINA Report 297

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    Abstract Halley, D.J. & Hopshaug, P. 2007. Breeding and overland flight of red-throated divers Gavia stellata at Smøla, Norway, in relation to the Smøla wind farm. – NINA Report 297. 32 pp. This report surveys the distribution and breeding success of red-throated divers Gavia stellata on the island of Smøla, Norway in the breeding seasons 1999-2004 inclusive, and 2007. Dur- ing this period, a large windfarm was constructed in the northwestern portion of the island in two stages. Stage 1, 20 2MW turbines, was constructed between September 2001 and Sep- tember 2002; stage 2, 48 2.3MW turbines, between October 2003 and October 2005. A total of twenty three breeding sites were found, up to twenty of which were used in any given year, though more typically 10-13 pairs would breed each year. Overall fledging success was 0.42 chicks/pair/year, similar to other coastal breeding populations. Whole-island breeding suc- cess in 2007, the first post-construction year for which we have data, was 0.15 chicks/pair; however, strong fluctuations in breeding success between years are normal in this species and it seems unlikely that the windfarm was a factor in this result as all breeding sites in 2007 were some distance away. Three red-throated diver breeding locations were noted within the windfarm area prior to con- struction, none of which have been used in years following construction of the stage in which each breeding site lies. It is unclear if this is due to the presence of the wind turbines in them- selves, increased disturbance due to easier human access to the area, and/or lingering effects of the extreme disturbance concomitant with construction. Although 46 hours and 20 minutes of structured observations were made within the windfarm area, and many more of unstructured observations by all scientists working in the windfarm area throughout the breeding season, not a single red-throated diver was observed to fly through the windfarm area, suggesting strong avoidance. At least four pairs breed in central areas of the island where the coast on the far side of the turbine arrays is, albeit by a small margin, the closest potential feeding habitat. The turbine arrays were checked regularly using a specially trained dog for birdstrike casual- ties. Although many such birds were found, mainly sea eagles Haliaeetus albicilla, grouse Lagopus lagopus, and waders, no red-throated diver corpses were recovered. Taken with the lack of observations of red-throated divers breeding in, or flying through, the windfarm area, this suggests that the risk of direct mortality from collisions at this location is very low. Further monitoring may include surveys early in the breeding season to determine if red- throated divers visit the wind farm area at that time, and so might resume breeding now that the construction phase and attendant disturbance is at an end; and focussed observations of the direction of feeding flights to and from the breeding sites on the central mire of the island, to determine whether these birds are simply preferring other feeding areas to those on the coast off the wind farm, or actively avoiding flight directions which would take them through the turbine arrays. D.J. Halley Per Hopshaug NINA NO-6570 Smøla NO-7485 Trondheim Norway duncan.halley@nina.no

    mailto:duncan.halley@nina.no

  • NINA Report 297

    Sammendrag Halley, D.J. & Hopshaug, P. 2007. Breeding and overland flight of red-throated divers Gavia stellata at Smøla, Norway, in relation to the Smøla wind farm.– NINA Rapport 297. 32 s. Denne rapporten beskriver utbredelsen og hekkesuksess hos smålom Gavia stellata på Smø- la, Norge, i hekkesesongene 1999-2004 samt 2007. I løpet av denne perioden, ble et stort vindkraftanlegg bygget i den nordvestre delen av øya i to trinn. Trinn 1, 20 2MW turbiner, ble bygget mellom september 2001 og september 2002; trinn 2, 48 2,3MW turbiner, mellom okto- ber 2003 og oktober 2005. 23 hekkeplasser ble funnet i alt, hvorav opptil 20 ble brukt i ett enkelt år, mens 10-13 hekkende par var mer typisk. Produktiviteten totalt var 0,42 unger/par/år, som tilsvarer nivået i andre kysthekkende bestander. Produktiviteten i 2007, det første år etter anlegget ble bygget hvor vi har data, var 0,15 unger/par. Store variasjoner mellom år i produktivitet er vanlig hos arten, og det er lite sannsynlig at vindkraftanlegget var en faktor i dette resultat siden at alle hekkelokali- teter i 2007 var ganske fjernt fra anlegget. Tre hekkeplasser ble funnet innen vindkraftanleggets areal før utbyggingen, men ingen av dis- se ble brukt i årene etter utbyggingen. Det er uklart om vindmøllene i seg selv er ansvarlig for dette, eller om økt forstyrrelse pga lettere adgang til området, og/eller langvarige effekter av den kraftige forstyrrelsen i byggefasen har virket inn,. I løpet av 46 timer og 20 minutter av strukturerte observasjoner innen vindkraftanlegget, og mange flere timer ustrukturete observasjoner av alle forskere som arbeidet i området i løpet av hekkesesongen, ble ikke en eneste smålom sett i flukt innen anleggsområdet. Dette antyder sterk unngåelse av området. Minst 4 par hekker i sentrale områder av øya, der kysten på mot- satt side av anlegget er det nærmeste potensielle beitehabitat. Anlegget ble overvåket regelmessig med bruk av spesielt opplærte hunder for å finne fugler og flaggermus drept i kollisjoner med vindmøllene. Mens mange funn ble gjort, hovedsakelig av havørn Haliaeetus albicilla, lirype Lagopus lagopus, og vadefugler, ble ingen smålom funnet. I tillegg til mangel på smålom som hekker i, eller flyr gjennom, anlegget, tyder dette på at risiko- en for direkte mortalitet av dette anlegget er svært lav. Videre overvåking kan inkludere oversikt tidlig i hekkesesongen for å finne ut om smålom be- søker vindkraftanlegget i perioden, for så muligens å gjenoppta hekking nå når byggefasen med tilhørende forstyrrelse er slutt. Videre bør observasjoner av retningen av matflukter til og fra hekkesteder på øyas sentrale myrer gjennomføres. Dette kan vise om fuglene reelt fore- trekker andre beitesteder framfor de på kysten ved vindkraftanlegget, eller om de aktivt unngår ruter som går gjennom anlegget. D.J. Halley Per Hopshaug NINA

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