Ugo, Srečko, Štelio, Nace, Mihi, Jakomo, Karlo and Pino are the Mediterranean Shags which we tracked successfully this year on their daily ways at Slovenian sea.
The first statistical analyses uncover behavioural patterns of Mediterranean Shags
After last year’s season, when Ari and Šime helped us collect the first telemetric data, we continued this summer with equipping Mediterranean Shags with GPS telemetry devices. Eight individuals bring completely new discoveries about movements of these marine birds about their diurnal ways between roosting and foraging sites. Interesting patterns are already visible based on simple statistical analyses. We discovered that individual shags have largely unvariable foraging areas and are mostly faithful to the same roosting sites. Some of them stay very close to the shore, where they forage in the depths up to 5 m, whereas the others visit areas where the see is 20 m deep and deeper. To properly identify new marine IBAs and Natura 2000 areas we, however, need to obtain more telemetric data and perform a detailed statistical analysis of spatial data, including those collected with the ESAS method. This is the project’s objective for the next year.
Ugo has migrated to Croatia, too
Last winter we reported, that the shag Šime had migrated to Croatia where it had settled down in Dalmatia, on small islets between islands Molat and Sestrunj. We have been tracking it until the end of March this year and then we lost contact for unknown reasons. This year, already in October, the shag Ugo, another adult individual equipped with GPS tracking device, migrated to south along the western coast of Istria, like Šime did but unlike him, Ugo stopped more to the north, in the Kvarner Gulf. Since its arrival to the destination it has been wandering around Mali Lošinj, Punta Križa and smaller islets near the southern coast of island Lošinj. It is very likely that it is going to breed there – hopefully successfully!
And where do the names of the shags originate from?
Most of the shags have old Istrian names, which are not popular among humans anymore, the names of some originate from their natal area, the Croatian coastal region, and some of them were named after our field work assistants, whom we owe the credits for catching the shags at all! And why are we using only male names? Based on external signs we cannot identify shags’ sexes. To avoid confusions we decided to consider gramatic gender of the Slovenian noun “vranjek” (eng. “shag”). The Pioneers Ari and Šime were named after two characters from the children’s book “The first journey of Ari, the Mediterranean Shag”, written by Petra Vrh Vrezec and illustrated by Kristina Krhin, which will be published very soon as part of project SIMARINE-NATURA.