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

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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mid-October 2017

105, the Steppe eagle that has been lingering in western Saudi Arabia, continues to linger.  It has spent the last 10 days in a limited area around the town of Wadi Ibn Hashbal.  As is highlighted by the increased sightings of scavenging birds using rubbish dumps in the region, so too is this bird spending most of its time at the local rubbish dump (Maps below).  Does anyone know this place?  Are other eagles or vultures using it in large numbers?  Leave a comment.

Movements of a Steppe eagle (105) around Wadi Ibn Hashbal, Saudi Arabia during mid-October 2017.

Frequent use of a rubbish dump near Wadi Ibn Hashbal by a Steppe eagle during 10 days in mid October 2017.
In recent days the Steppe eagle (162312) that is actively migrating has been making its way through Iran.  Currently it is about 1/2 way between Qom and Esfahan (See map below)
Movements of a Steppe eagle (162312) as it migrates through Iran during mid-October 2017.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A further tale of two eagles

Now that we have two eagles on the move, it seems best to join their stories.  To do this it is also best to first identify them.  I can't come up with reasonable names, so their transmitter numbers (162312 and 105) will have to do.

162312 started moving from its summering area in Kazakhstan just about a week ago.  It has made its way south and is now in Turkmenistan, about 120 km NW of Turkmenbashi (See Map 1). [CLICK ON THE MAPS TO GET AN ENLARGED VIEW]
Map 1.  Steppe eagle 162312
105 has been on the move for some time, and for the last week has been mostly using a rubbish dump near the town of Bisha, Saudi Arabia.  Today it made a short move farther south and is now about 200 km north of the Saudi Arabia - Yemen border, some 90 km NW of the town of Abha.  Click here to find out more about Abha (See Map 2).

Map 2.  Steppe eagle 105
Besides these individual movements, it is also interesting how these birds' migratory paths are starting to resemble each other (though we'll have to see what ultimately happens).  Map 3 shows the paths of the two birds (separated by about 3 weeks) as they migrate.  Some locations are < 2 km apart, and there is an implication that their flight paths crossed.

Map 3.  Migratory paths of two steppe eagles (105 and 162312) in western Turkmenistan, autumn 2017.
Of course, though the paths are close, the birds are currently quite far apart... about 2650 km (Map 4).

Map 4. Migration paths of two steppe eagles (105 and 162312) during early October 2017.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Steppe eagle number two has started to migrate

The other Steppe eagle we have been tracking has finally made a move south.  It had been using a very limited area in western Kazakhstan since 10 August... so small that I was a bit worried that it had died.  However, on 2 October it started to migrate.  As of last night, it was in western Turkmenistan. See below.

The other Steppe eagle we have been tracking is slowly making its way south... sort of.  Since the last post, it has moved south, stopped at a rubbish dump, moved farther south then moved north and stopped at another rubbish dump.  More on this bird in the coming days.

Even the Egyptian vulture we are tracking showed up briefly.  It was in and around the Tahwa rubbish dump near Sur.

Movements of a Steppe eagle during 10 August to 5 October 2017.  It started migration on 2 October

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Early days of October

For the last few days the Steppe Eagle we are tracking has been dwelling near Bishah, Saudi Arabia (See previous post).  A closer look shows it seems to be making use of a rubbish dump there.  As you may recall, this bird was captured at a rubbish dump in Oman in January.  Published and unpublished data from Oman and other countries in the region show that rubbish dumps are important to a variety of scavenging birds. 

Locations of a tracked Steppe eagle at a rubbish dump near Bishah, Saudi Arabia.