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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Early September 2016

During the last two weeks the vulture we have been tracking has spent most of its time in Wadi Sareen and near Ibra.  It has spent almost all of the summer moving in these areas.  We have had a few periods when it has "disappeared", when it is moving away from the GSM network coverage.  Pretty soon vultures from farther north will be migrating, and the numbers in Oman will increase.
Vulture movements during 1-18 September.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016

During August our tagged Egyptian vulture spent most of its time in Wadi Sareen Reserve, but made regular trips out of the reserve to known rubbish dumps, villages and to roost on power lines.  It gave us a bit of a scare around the middle of the month when we went four days without hearing anything, but gratefully it popped up again and uploaded the stored locations. Apparently it spent much of the time while missing in the steep valleys and wadis of the Wadi Sareen Reserve, where the gsm signal must be poor.

Movements of tagged Egyptian vulture during August 2016. (Click on image to enlarge)
In the last week of August the vulture has ventured south, spent time in Ibra (where it spent much of its time in late spring), and on 31 August was moving south and east of Ibra in the area between the Hajar Mountains and the Wahiba Sands.

Movements of tagged eagle during 24-31 August 2016. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Saturday, August 6, 2016


For the last 3 weeks the Egyptian vulture we are tracking has been in Wadi Sareen and the Al Multaqa area, and has not made any trips to Ibra.  This pattern is similar to what we have seen before.  Typically, this bird settles in an area for a period of time, then as time passes makes forays out to other areas.  More time passes and the visits to one of those areas increases until eventually all activity centres around the new area.  Thus, this bird has moved to Quriyat (February), then Tahwa (March-April), then Ibra (April-July) and now Wadi Sareen (June-?).
Movements of Egyptian vulture during 18 July-6 August 2016.
Movements of Egyptian vulture during 1-6 August2016.
 Of course we caught this bird at Al Multaqa, and in recent days it has spent time at the landfill there.
Visits to the landfill at Al Multaqa during 18 July-6 August 2016 by transmittered Egyptian vulture.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Early July 2016

The map below shows the movement of the transmittered bird during the first half of July.  Most of the time it has spent in the Wadi Sareen Nature Reserve.  At least one reason for doing this is that might be that it is cooler in the reserve and the many cliffs must offer good places to roost.  Although the bird made very short visits to known rubbish dumps at Al Amerat and Quriyat, it mainly stayed away from human habitation.  While we know that some vultures are electrocuted in Oman (see this blog December 21, 2015), in the past two weeks this bird has spent most of its time in areas where very few power lines exist.

Movements of sub-adult vulture during the first half of July 2016.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tracking since January

We have now received about 2000 locations for the Egyptian vulture we have been tracking since January.  In the last week it has been mostly moving around just north of Ibra, in Wadi Sareen, and in areas adjacent to Wadi Sareen.  In Wadi Sareen it seems to be roosting in the steep cliffs.

Movements of a subadult Egyptian vultures during Jan-June 2016.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Early June 2016

Well, for the last couple of weeks the tracked vulture has been spending more time in Wadi Sareen. Perhaps it is cooler there, but still within striking distance of villages and rubbish dumps.  The map below shows that the tracked vulture visited the Al Amerat area of Muscat, the Muscat municipal rubbish dump at Al Multaqa, locations around Ibra, Wadi Sareen and villages nearby.

Movements of an Egyptian vulture during 1-18 June 2016
Despite its globally endangered status, and Oman's position as an apparent stronghold for breeders, sadly, relatively little has been done on this species in the country, although opportunities exist.     ESO did a survey of the birds on Masirah (that showed the island held more than 4 times as many as was thought and is the second most densely populated area in the world), which was published in Sandgrouse, and a follow up study of scavenging bird use of rubbish dumps, Al Farsi & McGrady published (also in Sandgrouse) information on scavenging bird use of the Al Multaqa rubbish dump (which showed that globally important numbers of Egyptian vultures use the site), and then there are these tracking efforts over the past 1.5 years, which have revealed new information on movement and causes of mortality, including electrocution.

Although it has always been known that vultures use Wadi Sareen and it is a bit late for this year, it would be good to have a survey for breeding Egyptian vultures in Wadi Sareen.  It would also be good to have a routine of collecting data on vulture sightings by the rangers in the reserve, and try to assess the area's importance to non-breeders or the occurrence of communal roosts.  More generally, opportunities exist for important conservation activities for scavenging birds in Oman that build on what has been done by ESO and others so far.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

That was quick

Yesterday I reported that the bird we have been tracking had moved from Wadi Sareen and was in Muscat. Well, he did not stay there long.

0400 it was in Wadi Sareen
0600-0900 at Muscat Landfill at Al Multaqa
1000-1100 in Al Amerat, S. Muscat
1300 in Wadi Sareen, south of Salifah

Movements of an Egyptian vulture during 3 June 2016.