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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

Friday, January 25, 2019

Steppe eagles in Dhofar

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

We just wanted to get some initial maps out...

Over the last two weeks we have fitted satellite transmitters to 13 Steppe eagles wintering in Dhofar, Oman.  We caught the eagles at the old rubbish dump at Raysut.  Below is a zoomed out map of the tracks of 11 of the eagles.  Most of them have stayed south of the escarpment in the plain around Salalah.  At night most appear to roost at the escarpment, either in trees or on the many cliffs.  Most also continue to visit the rubbish dump (zoomed in map below).  Some few have made excursions to eastern Yemen, and returned, and shorter flights along the coast to the west.  Others have headed north a bit, some apparently around a chicken farm there.  Now it is just a matter of watching what happens.  It's hard to tell, but there are over 5000 GPS locations in the upper map

Keep checking this blog or follow us.  We will be making updates regularly.

Tracks during January 2019 of 11 Steppe eagles fitted with satellite transmitters at the rubbish dump at Raysut, Oman, 

Zoomed in image showing that tagged eagles spent a lot of time visiting the rubbish dump in January..

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Fitting satellite tags to Steppe eagles in Salalah, January 2019.

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

Since the second week in January we have been in Oman to capture Steppe eagles and fit them with satellite transmitters, and to provide training to biologists from the Office of Conservation of the Environment (OCE) in bird handling, survey and monitoring.  This effort has been collaborative (and will continue to be).  The main financial support came from a grant from the Anglo-Omani Society to Faisal Al Lamki at Arid Lands, the Bernd Meyburg Foundation for Raptor Research and Conservation, and International Avian Research.  OCE kindly provided accommodation, transport in Salalah, and important staff time in the field.  They also arranged for our permits that were issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.  Also, and importantly, be'ah, the national waste management company, provided us with access to their areas and logistical support.

Salalah is a great place to do this work, not least because large numbers of Steppe eagles visit the rubbish dump every day during the winter.  Below gives you an idea...

A snapshot of Steppe eagles soaring over the rubbish dump at Raysut, January 2019.
In the end we managed to fit tags to 13 Steppe eagles, and to take measurements and blood samples.  As of today, all are beeping away and moving around.

An OCE ranger preparing to release a Steppe eagle fitted with a satellite radio transmitter.

In the coming days, we will produce some maps to show what the birds are doing.  Keep checking the blog or follow us.

We have also worked to train OCE rangers in conducting bird counts at the site.  This can be a challenge when there are over 1000 eagles flying around and perched at various distances from the observers.  However, the rangers have done well.  The aim now is for them to monitor the numbers for the rest of this winter, and to do the same throughout next winter and beyond.  The waste site at Salalah (Raysut) is being closed down and a new, modern landfill will replace it that is located about 70 km away.  It will be interesting to see what the eagles will do, and certainly modern waste management will have environmental and human health benefits.

An OCE ranger gathering data to determine the age structure of the eagle population that uses the rubbish dump at Raysut.