Black kite with wingtags spotted

On September the 22nd, when 4257 black kites flew by station 1, we spotted a black kite with wingtags and a transmitter on his back. We were able to take a picture and luckily the wingtags could be read clearly: X99 written in white on a blue background on the wintag.

  Picture: Wim Bovens

Picture: Wim Bovens

A quick look on the European Colour-Ring Birding website indicated that it was a project from Israel. Contact was made and the information we got back was astonishing.

A few days earlier they lost contact with the transmitter. They had no idea where X99 was and if he was even alive or not. Daniel Berkowic from the Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology was very excited with this high quality information about the location of the black kite and the picture. He send us a picture of the black kite movement of other black kites. Every colour indicates a different black kite. Interesting to see how they move over Batumi, but also thee ast side from Vladikavkaz, Russia. It is very interesting to see how these black kites migrate through mountain passes and, after crossing Batumi, some follow the coast and others take the Coruk river valley (Borcka) south.

  Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

X99 got his wingtags, rings and transmitter in Dudaim landfill, five km east of Ber Sheva, Israel on January the 23rd of 2018.

  Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

  Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Fortunately they do have contact again with the transmitter of X99 and they could download the track of the autumn migration.

  Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

With a nice detailed map while flying past station 1

  Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Daniel Berkowic - Israel Bird Ringing Center, Dudaim Recycling Center and Tel-Aviv University School of Zoology

Wim Bovens
1 Million Raptors!
 

Today, after 6 weeks of counting and the last 2 days of fantastic raptor migration, we have passed the magical 1,000,000 raptor milestone!

 

We had many eagles in the past days, with some — like this juvenile Greater Spotted — giving off quite a show. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

 

Yesterday's highlights were the more than 100,000 raptors counted by both stations and the almost 1,700 eagles on Station 1, but we fell just short of the million.

 

When the view on the saddle is this good in the morning, you know you're up for a great day. And so it was: we passed the million mark! Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

 

This morning, during the Steppe Buzzard push we counted the final 8,000 birds needed to reach the million! We had a fantastic day with Griffon Vultures, many Imperial Eagles, a Crested Honey Buzzard and a very enjoyable migration of large eagles in general. And there's still more to come in the final weeks of the count… But first: we celebrate!

 

Sparrowhawk migration is still going strong and often results in bigger raptors being harassed when on migration, like this juvenile Honey Buzzard. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

Harrier Madness

71 Pallid Harriers counted from Shuamta alone. The bird in the photo is an adult male Pallid Harrier. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

B-A-T-U-M-I!

The best day of the season on Station 2! So far. Mixed groups of Black Kite, Honey Buzzard, Marsh, Pallid and Montagu's Harrier everywhere since the morning, making it challenging but also highly interesting to keep track of the numbers, species and different age/sex combinations. Birds were often close to the station, especially male Pallids gave very good views. The true highlight of the day were Marsh Harriers - we counted the highest number of Marsh ever recorded by the BRC (also the best total among all the counts on Trektellen): a 814 birds. Both stations combined, it makes more than 1200 individuals of this fascinating species counted today by our team.

Adult female Pallid Harrier. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

The more Marsh Harriers you see, the more you appreciate them. Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

The view from Station 2 - especially nice on a misty day like today. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.