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Important Bird Areas - Gorni Dabnik-Telish

Gorni Dabnik-Telish State: Pleven
Area: 3398,34 ха
Ownership: state - 46%; municipality - 10%; private - 44%;

The site includes the aquatic area of the two reservoirs – Gorni Dabnik and Telish – and several fishponds together with their adjacent territories in the grounds of Gorni Dabnik and Telish villages, northern Bulgaria, to the south-west of the city of Pleven. The reservoirs are located on a tributary of the Vit, immediately next to main road E83, connecting the towns of Lukovit and Pleven. The adjacent territories include the surrounding flooded areas with hygrophyte plant communities and massifs of reed /Phragmites australis/ and maice /Typha angustifolia/, farmlands, pastures, shrubs, groups of trees and small woodlands. The differences in the water basins’ features determine the presence of different types of ecological niches, providing habitats to a big number of wetland species.

Gorni Dabnik–Telish Reservoir supports 75 bird species, 34 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 41 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 3 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 10 in SPEC 2 and 28 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The reservoir is of international importance for the globally threatened Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus and the Great White Egret Egretta alba that congregate there during the winter. The Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica, the Smew Mergus albellus and the Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus regularly overwinter there as well. The complex holds a mixed colony of herons and cormorants. It is one of the most important sites in the country on European Union scale for the breeding Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax and the Little Egret Egretta garzetta. The Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus also breeds in the area in significant numbers.

The area is situated close to settlements where intensive human activities take place. Access to the area is unrestricted. The area is sensitive to all human activities, which cause disturbance to birds, especially entering the reservoir by boats before the sunrise, when the birds roost in the water. The other problem is the illegal hunting on protected species, out of the hunting dates and with illegal means. The agriculture activities around the reservoir, especially the use of pesticides and fertilizers has negative impact on the water quality. Because of the use of the reservoir for irrigation there it is threatened by temporary drainage.

Legal protection:
The area does not have legal protection by the national conservation legislation. In 2005 the area is designated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.

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