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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

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Movements of a Steppe eagle during January - June 2019

by M. McGrady, F. Al Lamki, B.-U. Meyburg and A. Spalton

The annual movements of the Steppe eagles and other migratory birds never ceases to amaze.  Below is a map of a three year old female eagle (182712) since it was caught in January 2019 at Raysut, Oman.  Seemingly this bird was not a breeder in this year, rather it has wandered around central Kazakhstan.

Movments of a third calendar year, female Steppe eagle during January - June 2019.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

182 has shown up

by F. Al Lamki, A. Spalton, M. McGrady and B. Meyburg

A Steppe eagle that was hatched in 2018, and fitted with GPS transmitter 182 on 15 January at Raysut, Oman was heard on 13 June.  It was last heard on 20 May.  After capture, this bird moved to western Yemen and stayed there for some weeks before starting migration in earnest.  Look back at the blog post on 29 March.

As a young bird, we do not expect this bird to settle into a breeding territory.  It will most likely wander somewhat, although could dwell in areas of sufficient food and an absence of territorial eagles to move it along.  This seems to be what it has been doing since 1 May.  The map below is of its movements since 1 May, and one can see that at times the eagle is on the move and at other times, the pace of that movement is slower.

Movements of a second year Steppe eagle during 1 May-14 June 2019.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

184 has turned up.

by B. Meyburg, F. Al Lamki, A Spalton, and M. McGrady

184, a Steppe Eagle that was fitted with a transmitter at Raysut, near Salalah on 15 January 2019, showed up (9 June).  We had not heard from this bird since early May.  This illustrates a constraint of the GPS-GSM tags in that birds can be located in holes in the GSM coverage and be unable to transmit GPS locations.  During the time it was missing, 184 moved in somewhat of a compressed loop, covering about 600 km.  184 is 2 years old, so we don't really expect it to be breeding, and so its wandering doesn't really surprise us.  184 was the only eagle tracked by us that appeared to make an attempt to cross the Strait of Hormuz (Look back at our March 9 and 20 blog posts).

Currently, at least three of the tagged birds we are following seem to be in such "holes".  We hope this is the case because, in due course, when they start migrating, we should hear from them and they should be able to dump the GPS locations stored onboard the tag.  The alternatives are that they are dead, have dropped their tags or their tags have failed for one reason or another.

Movements of a 2 yr old Steppe eagle during 1 May-9 June 2019.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Eagle Counts at Raysut

by Faisal Al Lamki, A. Spalton, B. Meyburg and M. McGrady

As part of our Anglo-Omani Society funded work on Steppe eagles in Oman we have trained biologists at the Office for Conservation of the Environment to make counts of eagles using the Raysut dumpsite in the winter.  They were able to conduct counts during January-April of 2019, recording the numbers and the reduction of those numbers as birds left for summering grounds. They were also able to determine the age composition of the eagle population using the dump site.    Surveys are an important tool for monitoring populations.  Look back at previous postings to see more about the migration.   We will start counting again in October, when some eagles should start arriving from summering areas, mostly in central Asia, especially Kazakhstan. 

Of course it would be useful for regular counts to be made at dumpsites that are known to be regularly used by scavenging birds, like Raysut, Al Multaquaa, Tahwa, Masirah and the Al Safa chicken farm near Thumrayt.  Counts at other rubbish dumps (e.g. Ibra) might reveal new sites used by many birds.

Numbers of Steppe eagles counted at Raysut dumpsite, January-April 2019

Age composition of Steppe eagles at the Raysut dumpsite, Jan-April 2019.

OCE biologist, Mohammed Hubais, counting eagles at Raysut

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Scavenging birds as important waste managers

 Click on the link to see a recent opinion paper by M. McGrady, T. Al Amri, and A. Spalton


Endangered teppe eagles at the rubbish dump in Salalah, Oman, 2019

Monday, May 20, 2019

All tracked birds are in Kazakhstan

by B.-U. Meyburg, F. Al Lamki, A. Spalton and M. McGrady

All the Steppe eagles we fitted with transmitters in Salalah are in Kazakhstan, mostly in the west of that country.  The bird that is farthest east (162312), is the bird we first caught in 2017 at the Muscat municipal landfill.  That bird has spent the last two winters at a dumpsite in central Saudi Arabia (have a look back at earlier posts to see more).  It is now at 65.2 degrees east longitude, and is east of Astana.  About half the birds seem to have settled into summer home ranges, and may be breeding.  The others are becoming more settled, but it is not yet clear that they have stopped moving.  Hopefully our colleagues working in Kazakhstan might be able to visit some of these places to see if they can confirm breeding.

Locations of Steppe eagles fitted with transmitters in Oman as of 20 May 2019.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Steppe eagles are settling in for the summer

by B. Meyburg, F. Al Lamki, A. Spalton and M. McGrady

Most of the tagged Steppe eagles have made it to breeding areas in Central Asia.  All that have settled into apparent home ranges are in Kazakhstan.  At least one seems to be still migrating, and two have not been heard from since late March.  Those two may just be in a hole in the GSM coverage.  We'll have to wait and see.

Below is a map of all the movements of a Steppe eagle we marked in January 2017.  It was caught at the Muscat Municipal Landfill at Al Multaquaa. It migrated and spent the summer of 2017 in western Kazakhstan.  In that summer it did not seem to breed, and we would not expect it to have bred  because it was a young bird.  In winter 2017-18 it was at a rubbish dump NW of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  In summer 2018 it settled into a home range about 100 km SW of Arkalyk, Kazakhsatan.  In winter 2018-19 it returned to the rubbish dump in Saudi, and this summer it has settled at the same place as summer 2018.

We'll update the blog soon when we have more conclusive data on the location of summer ranges.  Our colleagues working in Central Asia can then, perhaps, try to locate some of these sites.

Movements of a Steppe eagle, first captured in January 2017 near Muscat, Oman.