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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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Moving through Saudi

One of the Steppe eagles we have been tracking started migrating earlier this month.  For the last week it has been in Saudi, making its way SW.  At the moment it is about 300 km N of the Saudi-Yemen border, SW of the town of Bishah.  The other is still moving in a very limited area in western Kazakhstan.

Movements of a Steppe eagle during 23 - 30 September 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

In Saudi

The Steppe Eagle, whose progress south I reported on in the last post, has now moved into west central Saudi, about 280 km ENE of Mecca.  We'll find out over the coming weeks where this bird will winter, but for now it seems like it might not be in Oman, where it wintered last year.  Little is know about the level of fidelity migratory eagles show toward wintering locations, though fidelity seems to be common amongst adult eagles that have been tracked.

Migration of Steppe eagle during September 2017.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Steppe eagle on the move

The (now three year old) Steppe eagle we have been tracking that started its migration in early September (see last post), has now moved all the way to southern Iraq, about 130 km from the Saudi Arabian border.  This bird "went missing" for some days as it crossed through Iran because during that time it did not find GSM network to download its data.  Yesterday, about 100 km south of Baghdad, it came within a network and started downloading archived data.  As you can see from the map below, it still needs some time to download data from Kazakhstan through Turkmenistan.  So far the other Steppe eagle we are tracking has not made a move, and is still in far western Kazakhstan.  Visit the blog every so often to see what is happening.  Will this bird winter in Oman, like it did last year?

Movements of a Steppe eagle during 1 - 21 September 2017.

The tracked eagle on 16 January 2017