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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

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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

185 and 186 leading the pack

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

To date, six eagles have started migration, two are in Yemen, and two are still in Salalah.  185 (blue) and 186 (red) are leading the migrating pack and are currently in southern Iran.  The bird that was first caught in 2018 that wintered in central Saudi Arabia is still there.  The gap in the data in southern Saudi was when the birds flew through an area with no GSM network, so could not upload location data.  If they dwell for some time in a network, those data will be uploaded over time.  From about mid-Saudi Arabia the rate of data collection was changed from one every 10 minutes to one every hour.

Bon voyage!

Tracks (20 Feb-5 March) of two Steppe eagles that wintered in Salalah in 2018-19

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Migration has started!

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

Some of the Steppe eagles we have been tracking have started to migrate!

So far at least three of the tagged Steppe eagles have moved away from the wintering area, and headed north (See map below).  This includes 105, which was first fitted with a tag in January 2017, and has spent the last two winters in SW Saudi Arabia.  A fourth eagle is likely on its way as it has not reported in since 25 February.  At that time it was almost at the Oman-Saudi Arabia border.

First movements of three satellite tracked eagles away from their wintering locations.
The gaps in locations are due to the lack of GSM networks in that area, so the tags were not able to upload their data.  They will fill in those gaps, if they stay within a network.  The difference between 105 and the others, is that 105 logs a location every hour.  The others were logging every 10 minutes, though we have now switched those to also log a location every hour.

Consistent with the start of migration documented by these tracked birds, counts of Steppe eagles at the Raysut dumpsite being conducted by biologists at the Office for Conservation of the Environment are declining

Monday, February 18, 2019

Should I stay or should I go?

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

Below are maps of Steppe eagles exhibiting the extremes of ranging behaviour (so far... only about a month).  The ranging of the other birds we are tracking, have been something in between these extremes.  For both birds over 2000 locations have been recorded.

185 has been a real stay-at-home eagle, having moved in a limited areas around Raysut, and up onto the escarpment.

Movements of a Steppe eagle (185) during January and February 2019.
182 has headed west into western Yemen.  At its furthest westerly location it was about 30 km south of the town of Taizz.  Below are a map and a photo from the area.

Movements of a Steppe eagle (182) during January and February 2019
Some of the views Steppe eagle 182 might be having.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Steppe eagle 186 during 12-14 February

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

The Steppe eagles we are tracking are displaying a variety of ranging behaviours.  Some have moved off to Yemen, some have gone to Yemen and come back, some have wandered away from Salalah but stayed in Oman, and some have stayed fairly close to Salalah, moving only between the rubbish dump at Raysut and night time roosts on the escarpment. 

The map below is of an eagle fitted with a transmitter numbered 186.  Since it was tagged, this bird has travelled to Yemen and returned, and visited the chicken farm north of Thumrayt (green line). 
Movements of a Steppe eagle fitted with a transmitter on 15 January 2019 at Raysut.  Green line is the movement since release, and the white dots are where it was during 14-15 February 2019.

In the last few days  (white dots) it has been about 120 km NW of Salalah.  I can't really make out any features that might cause this bird to dwell there, but something is attractive.  We'll see what happens.
Movements of Steppe eagle 186 during 14-15 February 2019.

In the near future we'll try to post examples of birds of birds that have behaved a bit differently, so check back for new postings