In a snowy Saturday morning, on 25th of January, just before the annual assembly of the Association for the Protection of Great Bustard, members of the association recorded in their field diary seeing 9 bustards at the site Vajlerka.

The site Vajlerka  is located east of the road Mokrin - Crna Bara, near the Romanian border. There is a complex of arable land on which rapeseed can be found, the favorite food of great bustard in the winter. Unfortunately, farmers have not sown rapeseed this season, and the bustard cope with the remnants of field mustard (Sinapis arvensis), plants very similar to rapeseed.

Vajlerka, which is not part of the SNR "Pastures of great bustard", is a traditional wintering place for Great Bustard, there it can be seen already in the fall.


Just a few days earlier Mokrin measured 15 degrees of Celsius. Now the temperature dropped below zero, and the entire site is covered with snow. For us researchers, this is a great opportunity to go out into the field, because the snow makes it easier to observe living creatures.

On the fourth kilometer of Mokrina on the road Mokrin - Crna Bara, is the separation to the right - the dirt road that leads right to the Romanian border. Driving on this snowed road, we noticed a flock of great bustards on the move towards the "Letkov farm". Because of the distance and the slight irregularities of the field we counted only 6 - 7 bustards. According to the latest information from various sources, we know for certain that the flock of 9 bustards is in Vajlerka. We continue to sneak forward, to the nearest bunker, which is a great place to set the equipment and observation.

That was it! Nine bustards, arranged like on a platter, they huddled on a sudden gust of snow. One bird was stand aside and guarding while the others were certainly also on the lookout. The zoomed image clearly shows eight individuals and the ninth head peeking behind a bush, about midway between the extreme right bustard and others.

We stayed there until our hands were completely frozen, and then we moved on in search of the old male individual.

This time though we were not so lucky. We assume that he went for a "walk" to Romania. The bird knows no national boundaries and is not even aware of how much more difficult that makes our job. But we did not lost our will, we just continued to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Pannonia.

Bun washes his face in morning snow

Deer gracefully watching a small group of researchers from a safe distance

The old farm, a real winter idyll

And who would say, in return for Mokrin - snow plow! Road workers were not surprised this time by snow 

On our way back to Mokrin, we think about the current number of individuals of great bustard. For a long time we did not have reliable data (last year there was not winter counting). We hope that the meeting with hunters will be inspiring ("LU Perjanica" - SNR Manager of the "Pastures of great bustard"), they, later that afternoon, explained to us that they have information about a larger number of individuals of great bustard in the reserve. It remains to wait for winter census.