The purpose of this study was to present the current state of avifauna in the vicinity of Polish Polar Station, at Hornsund (SW Spitsbergen). During four seasons (2003-2006) ten bird species were recorded as breeding there. Among them colonial little auk and Arctic tern were most abundant. Six additional species were noted during the breeding season but none of them bred there and their visits in the study plots were a consequence of their nesting nearby study area. Remaining 11 species were recorded during migration. The most pronounced changes over the last 35 years has been a considerable increase in number of barnacle geese exploiting the tundra as their foraging and resting area.
The avifaunistic observations carried out in the tundra valley of the Sob River's upper course (west slopes of the Polar Ural) in July 1995 revealed the occurrence of 39 breeding and 8 non-breeding bird species. The most numerous were Anthus pratensis, Calcarius lapponicus, Phylloscopus trochilus and Anthus cervinus. The great variety of wetland and aquatic habitats had a decisive influence on species-richness and abundance of birds (jointly 30 breeding and 4 non-breeding species). Areas of low humidity were inhabited by 14 whereas anthropogenic habitats by 4 species. Most of them (except for eurytopic A. pratensis and C. lapponicus) occupied one-two habitats irrespective of their numbers. The density of Buteo lagopus was estimated at 1.67-2.00 p/10 km2. Three species of distribution ranges laying to the south from the study area, namely Bucephala clangula, Dendrocopos major, Circus macrourus, were noted in the valley. The results obtained have been compared with available data on the avifauna of the region concerned.
The order Passeriformes is the most successful group of birds on Earth, however, its representatives are rare visitors beyond the Polar Front zone. Here we report a photo−documented record of an Austral Negrito ( Lessonia rufa ), first known occurrence of this species in the South Shetland Islands and only the second such an observation in the Antarctic region. This record was made at Lions Rump, King George Island, part of the Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 151 (ASPA 151). There is no direct evidence of how the individual arrived at Lions Rump, but ship assistance cannot be excluded.