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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

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.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

All tagged eagles have now started migration

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

182712 has turned up after being out of contact for almost a month; it was last heard just west of Salalah on 9 March.  During that time it made its way west through Yemen, making a few stops along the way.  It has now started to head north, and is currently east of Sanaa. 182 has also finally made its move north, after spending a long time at the rubbish dump near Taizz, Yemen (See 29 March blog post).  All together three of the eagles we fitted with transmitters have taken this westerly route through Yemen on their migration north.  It will be interesting to see what happens in autumn, but in the meantime we can see what they do over summer.

Friday, March 29, 2019

One eagle still in Yemen

by Mike McGrady, Andrew Spalton, Bernd Meyburg and Faisal Al Lamki

Score card so far...

Two satellite tags have failed.  One bird wandered around Yemen after release, but has settled on a rubbish dump, where it is currently (See below).  All other eagles seem to be migrating or have migrated.  One bird disappeared on 9 March west of Salalah, but it may be somewhere out of GSM coverage.  We hope to hear from it soon.

Below is a map of locations for a bird that has been in Yemen for most of its time after release.  For the last few weeks it has been at a rubbish dump just west of Taizz, the third largest city in Yemen.  The maps are of locations for the past week, and a zoomed in view showing that it is spending time around a rubbish dump.  This bird should migrate soon.  It is the only one that has not left southern Arabia.

Locations of Steppe eagle 182 just west of Taizz, Yemen during 1 week in March 2019.
Zoomed in version of the map above.  Red polygon is the dumpsite.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Migration is well underway.

by Mike McGrady, Faisal Al Lamki, Bernd Meyburg and Andrew Spalton

Well, there seems to be only one eagle that has not left its wintering location.  All the others are at various locations along their spring migration path.  Below is a map of eight of the tracked eagles since they started migration.  185, 186 and 187 are already in the breeding range (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan).  184 and 162312 are in Iran.  183 and 105 are in Saudi Arabia; 105 actually made it to Iran, but backtracked to Saudi for some reason.  Of course there are other birds that are being tracked.  They seem mostly to be doing about the same thing as the mapped birds.  [If you double-click on the map, it should open up in a new window and be easier to view.]

Maps of 8 Steppe eagles migrating from Arabia during spring 2019.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

184 retreats from Straits of Hormuz

by Andrew Spalton, Bernd Meyburg, Faisal Al Lamki and Mike McGrady

Well, it seems like 184 didn't want to try to cross the Straits of Hormuz.  Despite being a rather narrow water crossing, there is little evidence that many migrating raptors move between Iran and Arabia via the Straits of Hormuz (either in autumn or spring).  The species that do are the more active flyers: falcons and harriers. 

Movements of a Steppe eagle (184) as it is migrating north.  It flew to the northernmost point of Musandam, then turned south, and will now, presumably fly around the Arabian Gulf on its way north.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

184 migrating north through the Samail Gap

by Mike McGrady, Faisal Al Lamki and Bernd Meyburg

Just a quick post, mostly of Omani interest... 184 has migrated through Oman and was by this evening was moving through the Samail Gap.  It will be interesting to see if it attempts to cross the gulf at Musandam.  I don't think it will.  Eagles tracked two years ago went around via Kuwait and there is little evidence of eagle migration via the Straits of Hormuz,  We'll see.

Movements of Steppe eagle 184 as it migrates north through Oman.