Turau Meadow in Belarus is currently the largest stopover site for this species during their spring migration across Europe, but this year the numbers amazed everyone. A group of ornithologists, including researchers from Birdlife Belarus and Turov Ringing Station, registered a record count of 120,000 Ruff in a single day, an unprecedented number since observations began at Turau Meadow 20 years ago in 1997.
Turau Meadow is an open floodplain in the middle of Pripyat River and one of Europe’s most essential nesting and stopover areas for more than 50 migratory wading bird species, it is the largest stopover site for as many as 150,000 Eurasian Wigeon and 20,000 Black-tailed Godwit during their spring migration across Europe.
In our recording area the Ruff is no more than a scarce winter visitor, an uncommon spring but fairly common autumn passage migrant. Without records for 2016, an example of a peak count in 2015, was of six birds at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve on 29 August.
Ruff with Redshank. Conder Pool 8 August 2016. Pete Woodruff.Little wonder the pleasure I get from finding the occasional Ruff like the one on Conder Pool 8 August last year, though a personal all time best count was of 14 Ruff at Norbreck Farm off Hillam Lane on 25 August 2011.
If you'd like a few minutes of pure enjoyment, take a look at the video of the Ruff at Turau Meadow below, even the sound is a treat to hear, turn the volume up and watch it full screen....You can skip the ad rubbish at the start of the video.
Depressing to hear, not only no breeding Hen Harriers in Forest of Bowland this year, but anywhere else in England. Also, although two occupied Peregrine Falcon nests have been located in the Forest of Bowland, but no other territories have been found at five other shooting estates, and sixteen former territories here remain abandoned.
All very hard to take in even though we might have expected it, and doesn’t go to lift the depression at all.