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Blog posts related to Steppe eagles trapped and tracked from Oman in 2017 can be found on the Egyptian vulture blog

Thursday, July 5, 2018

105 turns up after 3.5 months!

We last heard from the Steppe eagle wearing transmitter 105 on 22 March.  At that time it was in Uzbekistan and seemed to be near the end of its migration.  It had spent the winter near Abha, Saudi Arabia (and just to remind you summered in 2017 in western Kazakhstan and was caught by us in January 2017 near Muscat, Oman).  It turned up today located about 30 km NW of Yekadin, KZ.  The gap in data was due to the bird being outside the area of the GSM network.  Hopefully, it will stay within the network for some time so that the stored location data from the past months can be downloaded.  In any case, it is great to know it is alive!

Locations of two Steppe eagles tracked via satellite in mid-July 2018.  Red =105, Blue=162312)
Interestingly, this bird is located only about 60 km from the other Steppe eagle we are tracking, which is currently about 60 km SW of Yekadin.  The map below shows the locations of both birds since 22 March.  As you can see, one bird (105) migrated earlier than the other (162312).

Movements of two Steppe eagles tracked via satellite during 22 March - 5 July 2018. Red=105, Blue = 162312. (Click on the image to open larger in a new window.)



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Is it breeding?

For much of the past month, locations from one of the Steppe eagles we are tracking have been within a 10 km diameter circle (about 520 km SW of Astana), raising the question of weather it had settled in to breed (spending some or most of its time on a nest).  I don't think so, though it could have, then abandoned the breeding attempt.  The reasons I think that it is not breeding is that it would still be fairly young (its entering its 3rd yr), and in recent days it has moved about 20 km to SSE.  That would mean that it settled in that 10 km circle for only three weeks or so, too short to incubate eggs.  Also, because its most recent move has kept it away from that circle for about 4 days, I think it had just found a good place to dwell for some time, and has now moved on.

The other eagle we are tracking has not been heard from since 22 March.  I am still hoping it is in a GSM hole somewhere, and will at some point leave that hole and start transmitting data. We have a lot of catching up to do.

Locations of a 3rd yr Steppe eagle during May 2018.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

1-10 May 2018

Well, it seems like 162312 has settled into a summering area, which is very remote.  Its about 90 km NNW of Baykonyr, Kazakhstan.  It's hard to say much about this area except that it seems very remote.  Looking at Google Maps its hard to find nearby active towns or even roads, and I had to zoom out quite a bit to find a recognisable geographic feature, the Aral Sea, which is about 400 km SW of where this bird has settled.

We haven't heard from the other steppe eagle for a while.  Presumably it has been in an area with no GSM network.  Hopefully, it will be heard from soon, and at least at the end of the summer when it starts autumn migration.

Apparent summering location of steppe eagle 162312

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Late April for 162312

Movements of a Steppe Eagle during the last week of April, 2018.

162312's pace of migration has slowed, and perhaps it has settled into a summering area about 175 km SW of the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Early April for 162312

The Steppe eagle that wintered in central Saudi Arabia (162312) is now (9April) in SW Kazakhstan about 100 km NE of the town of Ayteke Bi.  The map below shows its movements since 1 April, when it was south of Tehran.  It then moved NE, right through the middle of the Aral Sea.  On the scale of the migration this is "near" to where it spent last summer, but we'll have to wait to see where it settles.  I haven't heard from 105 in 10 days or so.  I guess it might just be in a place where there is no network.

Movements of Steppe eagle 16

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Habitat around Abha, Saudi Arabia

Steppe eagle 105 is well on its way to summering areas (last heard in Uzbekistan south of the Aral Sea), but here are some pictures from the area where it wintered, near Abha, Saudi Arabia, courtesy of Jeremy Babbington.  Jeremy was there last week and there were still some Steppe eagles around.

I'll wait a few more days to update on the movements of Steppe eagle 105, in the hope that he "phones home".  I did hear from the other Steppe eagle we are tracking, 162312, which wintered in central Saudi Arabia.  It has made steady and rapid progress and is in Turkmenistan at the moment.

Photo by J Babbington
Photo by J Babbington

Photo by J Babbington

Photo by J Babbington

Photo by J Babbington

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Both Steppe eagles on migration

I'd been waiting to have more information on the eagle movements before blogging, and now almost a month has past.

Steppe eagle 105 spent the early part of the month on the border between Iran and Iraq (see previous blog post).  On about 8 March it started to migrate, but apparently because of lack of GSM network, it did not upload data.  The next time we heard from it was on 20 March, and by that time it was in Turkmenistan.  During 20-22 March it continued northward into Uzbekistan, and we received our last location south of the Aral Sea near Muynak.  Since then it has probably gone into another GSM hole and we have not heard from it.  Nor has it had a chance to upload the data from the trip between Iraq and Turkmenistan.  The map below shows the data we have to date.

Movements of Steppe eagle 139 during March 2018.
Steppe eagle 162312 finally made a move, too.  On 27 March it left the area of central Saudi Arabia, where it had spent the winter of 2017-18, and started on migration.  By 29 September it had already reached southern Iran, about 30 km west of the town of Shush (See map below)>.

The movements of Steppe eagle 162312 as it starts on its spring migration.