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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Steppe Eagle movements so far

We have been tracking the two Steppe eagles caught in Oman for about 7 months now.  Below is a map of their movements during that time.  During the time we have tracked them they have spent a couple of months in northern Oman, migrated north, and spent the summer in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Russia.  A feature of their summer movements is that they seem to be wandering over large areas, and one of the birds seems to be doing this while also having a base area in far western Kazakhstan to which it regularly returns. Remember, you can click on the map and it should open in a new window and be easier to see.  In the coming days I will post more detail about the summertime movements of these birds, so revisit the site soon.

Movements of 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Steppe eagle movements 1 June - 7 July 2017

Well, I thought the Steppe Eagle we are in contact with had settled in for the summer in western Kazakhstan, near the Caspian Sea.   However, on 3 July it set off from the area in which it has settled since it migrated, and by 6 July it had moved almost 900 km to a location north of the Aral Sea, about 60 km north of the town of Saksaulskiy.  I found a photo on the internet from near Saksaulskiy (below).

Generally speaking, we know little about what non-breeding eagles do during the breeding season, but this behaviour is not what has been seen in other species, where the eagle settles then makes occasional moves.  We'll see what this bird does now.  The times on the map below are GMT; local time is GMT+5 hrs.

We have not heard from the other birds we are tracking.  Presumably the other Steppe Eagle is out of GSM range, so can not upload data.  The Egyptian Vulture we are tracking in Oman may be still hiding out in the steep canyons and wadis of Wadi Sareen in an attempt to escape the heat!

Movements of a juvenile Steppe Eagle during 1 June - 7 July 2017
Landscape aroudn Saksaulskie (http://www.q-rider.de/2007/html/070610-aralsk.html)
Kazakhstan also has camels, albeit with more humps.  (http://www.q-rider.de/2007/html/070610-aralsk.html)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Steppe eagle in early June

The steppe eagle we are tracking is still in far western Kazakhstan, between the Aral and Caspian Seas.  After spending much of its time during the last 2 weeks near what appears to be a water well, in recent days it has made a 200 km move NW.

The other eagle is still out of touch, presumably in some area where there is no mobile phone network over which the data can be downloaded.

Movements of a Steppe eagle during 1-15 June 2016.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Egyptian vulture turns up

After 40 day sof silence, the Egyptian vulture we are tracking has turned up!  It seems that this bird has probably been staying within the confines of the Wadi Sareen Reserve, where mobile phone coverage is limited.  I must admit that I was worried. Given this bird's age I would not think that would be a breeder, rather that it stayed in Wadi Sareen because it offered cooler, shady roosting sites during the summer. It should, however, be noted that the incubation period for Egyptian vultures is 39-45 days.  Below is a map of the movements since 2 June, when it reappeared.

I'll update the blog about Steppe eagles in the coming days, so check back.

Movements of an Egyptian vulture during 2-9 June 2017.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Steppe eagle during May 2017

It's been about a month since I last reported on the movements of birds we are tracking

The Egyptian vulture we are tracking has not been heard of for about a month.  I hope it is either breeding or simply avoiding the Oman summer heat in a place where there is no GSM coverage.  We'll wait and see.

One Steppe eagle that we have been tracking also disappeared about a month ago on the border between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.  I hope this is because it is now in an area where there is no GSM network, and that it will come into range sometime this summer or when it starts migration in the autumn.

The other Steppe eagle that we are tracking seems to have slowed its migration in far western Kazakhstan.  Evgeny Bragin from Kazakhstan tells me that this area has a high density of Steppe eagles, both breeding and non-breeding, and that a tracked Eastern imperial eagle also ranged in this area.  A close look at the Google Earth imagery suggests the area is very remote, but the eagle seemed to spend some time around some wells (as suggested by the vehicle tracks), but is slowly wandering north.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day is tomorrow!  For more than ten years now, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) has raised awareness about the need for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats, about the threats they face, their ecological importance, and about the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Every year people across the planet take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD. Although the main day for the international celebrations is 10 May, but activities can also be undertaken at any time of the year when the regional peak of migrations is best.

The Steppe Eagles we have been tracking from Oman have been "celebrating" WMBD for some time now, as they make their own migrations.  Below is a map of their movements since they have left Oman. Currently, one is in far western Kazakhstan and the other was in northern Turkmenistan when it was last heard on 22 April.  We may not hear from the bird last heard in Turkmenistan for a while because its transmitter uploads data via the GSM network, and it is likely that there will be no network in many of the places it might visit this summer.  We'll have to see.  When it does find a network, it will dump the archived data, and fill in the gaps.

Anyway, Happy WMBD!

Northward migration of two Steppe eagles fitted with transmitters in Oman in early 2017.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

162312 during April

The Steppe Eagle we are tracking that made an early attempt at migration (see earlier blog post), then returned to Oman is now in Iran.  162312 left the Tahwa landfill site, where it had spent much of the winter, on 8 April on its second migration attempt.  Like the other Steppe eagle we are tracking, it spend some time (5 days) on the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border, before pushing farther north.  By 26 April, 162312 was located about 50 km southwest of Qom, Iran, following a path similar to that used by our other tagged Steppe eagle (see the April 14 post).

Bon voyage!

Migration of 162312 from Oman (8 April) into central Iran (26 April) during spring 2017.