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Blog posts after 1 Feb 2018 about Steppe eagles tracked from Oman can be found at the Steppe eagle blog

Friday, February 16, 2018

More updating. January and early February 2018

As reported in the last post, we managed to capture 13 Egyptian vultures in January, and fit them with satellite radio transmitters.  This is the first of the blog posts that will follow those birds, reporting from time to time on their movements and other events.  Below are maps from two of them, whose transmitter numbers are 171318 and 171328.

171328 was captured and fitted with a transmitter on 20 January.  After release, it moved south to a location in the mountains SW of Quriayat.  It has spent most of its time there, but has also visited the rubbish dump near Ibra.  This type of behaviour is typical of most vultures we have tracked, with birds settling into an area, and making occasional forays out to other places.  Over time the map becomes one in which the movement of birds is clustered around places (especially rubbish dumps).  One thing to keep in mind is that this is an adult bird and it might be holding a territory and could be a breeder.  We'll have to wait and see.

171328 being released, 20 January 2018.  Photo by M. McGrady

Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (171328) during January and early February 2018.
171318 has behaved differently from the other birds we have tracked in that it has been almost always on the move and has not settled anywhere for very long.  Its movements have lead it to do at least two laps of northern Oman, from Sur to Musandam!  171318 was also captured and fitted with a transmitter on 20 January.

171318 being held by Dr B. Meyburg.  Photo: M. McGrady
Movements of an adult Egyptian vulture (171318) during late January and early February 2018.
Other places where information on this work is available include: https://thevulturechronicles.wordpress.com/2018/02/13/omans-egyptian-vultures/ and http://timesofoman.com/article/128064

You can also visit our blog which shows the movements of Steppe Eagles tagged by us in Oman in January 2017.  https://steppeeaglesoman.blogspot.co.at/

Monday, February 12, 2018

January 2018. New transmitters are deployed!

The bad news is that we have not heard from the Egyptian vulture since 4 October 2017, when it was at the Tahwa Landfill south of Sur.  We are still hopeful that it will turn up, but hope seems to be fading.

The good news is that during field work in Oman in January we were able to fit transmitters to 13 Egyptian vultures (and what appears to be a hybrid Greater spotted-spotted eagle).  Because of this I have created a blog solely for the Steppe eagles we have been tracking. You can visit that blog by clicking here.  

Sultan Qaboos University Environmental Studies students helped fitting satellite transmitters to vultures. Photo: M. McGrady
Working at the main municipal landfill at Al Multaquaa (aka New Al Amerat), we managed to catch 12 adult and one 2 year old Egyptian vultures and fit them with GPS tags.   The work was done under permits from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Affairs, and the access permission of Be'ah, the national waste management company.  Six of the tags were provided by the Bernd Meyburg Foundation for Raptor Research and Conservation, and Dr. Meyburg himself was in the field (Dr Meyburg has probably fitted more satellite to more eagles from the most species of anyone in the world).  One tag was from the Vulture Conservation FoundationThe Environment Society of Oman (ESO), the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and Faisal Al Lamki all provided additional support.

Dr B. Meyburg with a adult Egyptian vulture. Photo: M. McGrady
In coming posts I will report on interesting events and keep you up to date, but with so many birds I will not be able to give details about all birds all the time.  For now, have a look at the map below, which shows what the birds did in January.  The different symbols refer to different types of tags.  
Movements during January 2018 of 13 Egyptian vultures fitted with GPS tags

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 2017

I haven't blogged lately about the birds we are tracking because they have not moved very far.  I think it is safe to say that their current locations are their wintering locations for 2017-18. Below are maps that show the locations of the birds relative to one another in Saudi Arabia, and as individuals. The locations are those collected during December, and show just how settled the birds are.  The main feature of both is that there are rubbish dumps where they spend most of their time.

Unfortunately, the Egyptian vulture we have been tracking has not been heard of since 4 October.  At that time the transmitter seemed to be working fine, and we had had spells, sometime months at a time, when the bird went missing, presumably because it was somewhere outside the GSM network over which the data are uploaded.  I sure hope it will turn up again soon (and dump its data telling us where it has been!).

Locations of two Steppe eagles being tracked by satellite in Saudi Arabia during December 2017.
Locations of a Steppe eagle wintering about 120 km NW of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during December 2017.
Locations of a Steppe eagle wintering near Abha, Saudi Arabia during December 2017.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Not much change

Nothing much has changed since the last post.  Steppe eagle 105 is still at a rubbish dump near the  town of Wadi Ibn Hashbal (about 50 km NE of Abha), though it did make excursions of about 50 km to the east and west.  Although it is still early in the winter, this bird may stay in this place until spring migration.

162312 has settled, at least for the moment, in central Saudi Arabia near the town of Shaqra, about 180 km NW of Riyadh.  This birds is also spending much of its time at a rubbish dump.

Locations of two Steppe eagles fitted with satellite transmitters during early November 2017.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Two things

Well, the Steppe eagle we have been tracking that has been migrating (162312) has crossed into Saudi Arabia.  It is currently near the town of Qbah

Steppe eagle migrating across Iraq and Saudi Arabia in autumn 2017.
Contrary to my predictions that the other eagle we are tracking (105) might have headed south, it turned up at the rubbish dump at which it has spent the last month or so.  When it disappeared, it headed east, presumably out of gsm range.

Movements of Steppe eagle (105) during 26 October-1 November 2017.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Steppe eagles during late October

In recent days we have stopped receiving data from the Steppe eagle we have been tracking that has been in Saudi Arabia for the past month (105).  My guess is that it has pushed farther south into Yemen, where GSM coverage is not good... mostly 2G around the capital Sana'a.  Below is a map of its time in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Movements of a Steppe eagle through Iraq and Saudi Arabia during autumn 2017.
The other Steppe eagle that we have been tracking, 162312, is slowly but surely moving south.  On 29 October it was in southern Iraq, about 90 km west of Basrah.  At that time it was about 70 km from the Kuwait border, and could easily cross the border today or tomorrow.  It could also fly directly into Saudi Arabia, which is only 170 km away, just a bit farther west.  I'm hoping this bird goes back to Oman for winter, but anything it does will be interesting.

Movements of a Steppe eagle migrating through Iran and Iraq, late October 2017.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

More of the same

The Steppe eagle (162312) that was actively migrating last week, continues to do so.  It is now near the town of Izeh, Iran, and heading toward the Iraqi border near Basrah.

Movements of Steppe eagle through Iran during October 2017.
The other eagle (105) has spent the last week at the rubbish dump near Ar Rashda, Saudi Arabia.  The map below shows that it is often roosting in the hills to the NE of the rubbish dump.  Who knows?  Maybe this is the final winter destination for this bird.  It is at a location a bit south of where it was caught last year in Oman.  It would be great to get a report of scavenging bird use of this rubbish dump.
Movements of a Steppe eagle during 18-25 October 2017.