New publication: Population trends from 8 years of BRC Autumn Counts
 

We are proud to announce that counting millions of raptors, over thousands of hours and the help of hundreds of volunteers has now resulted in a new open access publication in Ibis.

 

Juvenile (left) and adult female (right) Honey Buzzard. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

 

For 8 important species for the bottleneck, we have analysed trends over the past 8 years of standardised counts (2011-2018). Despite this short study period, we can already detect moderate changes in abundance for at least one age class in all species except Pallid Harrier. You can find the summary of our results through the button below, or read the paper in its entirety in Ibis.

 
 

Wouter M.G. Vansteelant, Jasper Wehrmann, Dries Engelen, Johannes Jansen, Brecht Verhelst, Rafa Benjumea, Simon Cavaillès, Triin Kaasiku, Bart Hoekstra & Folkert de Boer. (2019) Accounting for differential migration strategies between age groups to monitor raptor population dynamics in the eastern Black Sea flyway. Ibis.

New BRC T-shirts

We are proud to announce that with the new season come two brand new designs for BRC T-shirts.

By now we already have a decent collection of annual count T-shirts. After years of yellow-green-grey tones and requests by heavy metal scene admires for a dark T-shirt, we finally have it: a black count shirt with the text “Over one million raptors”! The design was made by Rafa Benjumea. 

Also the general BRC T-shirt design has been refreshed: our logo species, the pallid harrier, is now depicted perching on a green background, drawn by Maude Silly.

The black 2019 count T-shirt. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

The black 2019 count T-shirt. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

The new BRC shirt. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

The new BRC shirt. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

How to get yourself one of the T-shirts?

 
1) Visit us on our counting station in Sakhalvasho until the 21st of October and buy it directly from us.
2) Become a member (Honey Buzzard or Imperial Eagle membership) and we will send you the black 2019 count shirt.
3) Become a two-year Imperial Eagle member and in addition to the count T-shirt, we will also send you the green pallid harrier shirt.
Please visit the membership page for the information on how to become a member.

We have both men’s and women’s shirts. Photo by Triin Kaasiku,

We have both men’s and women’s shirts. Photo by Triin Kaasiku,

Triin Kaasiku
Season 2019 has started

This year the 12th of August already marked the start of the 12th Batumi Raptor Count. To better detect changes in migration timing, we have decided to start the count 5 days earlier and finish 5 days later. So from this year onwards BRC will monitor migration in the Batumi bottleneck from August 12th until October 21st, for a total of 70 days.

Starting earlier means the first days of the season will probably be slower than usual, but that gives us a nice opportunity to practice working on our new Station 1. Thanks to the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Adjara and the Adjara Tourism Department, the shelter on Station 1 is not just a shelter anymore. Instead, we now have an ‘observatory’ to count from. We are very grateful for this investment in birdwatching facilities and thrilled to welcome you at our new station.

New station 1 view from the higher level. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

New station 1 view from the higher level. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

This year we will have:

58 people are taking part in the project, including 9 Georgian volunteers. This year's volunteers come from 18 countries and we are welcoming the first Iranian and Portugese volunteers to the project.

Organised in close collaboration with Flora & Fauna International, once again a group of 7 Georgian falconers will be participating in the project.

With the help of local teachers we will restart the environmental education programme in the schools in the bottleneck.

We will officially start counting Long-legged Buzzards, as recent tracking studies have shown an interesting northward migration of this species during autumn.

We will pilot the systematic collection of photographs of raptors, to facilitate plumage and moult studies of species migrating through the bottleneck.

Lots of space for infographics on the new station 1. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

Lots of space for infographics on the new station 1. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

Dedicated scanners and the station cat. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

Dedicated scanners and the station cat. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

As usual, we will keep you updated through the daily count results on our website, and our posts on TwitterFacebook and Instagram (new!). Make sure to follow us!

Bart Hoekstra