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.

500,000 Raptors counted!

The birds may not care, but we do: today we passed the 500,000 raptors mark! Despite today's migration being exceptionally slow for this time of year, we had a nice, comfortable day ending with fantastic harrier migration in beautiful sunset light. Our thanks go out to all the volunteers, members, donators and sponsors who have made this season's count possible.

Greetings from Sakhalvasho and Shuamta!

 Team Shuamta

Team Shuamta

 Team Sakhalvasho

Team Sakhalvasho

The first 100,000

We have now been counting for 12 days and yesterday we passed the first milestone of the season: we have counted the first 100,000 birds! The start of the season has been everything but standard this autumn. Species diversity is already quite high and some species are unusually numerous. Whether this will continue to be the case for the rest of the season will remain to be seen, but the start so far has been very promising. Read the descriptions of the photos below for some highlights.

Season Highlights (August 17th - August 28th)

High numbers of Black Kites

Juvenile Black Kite. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

At the time of writing, we've already counted 7500 Black Kites, with hourly averages much higher than the usual 5-10 birds.

Early Pallid Harriers

Immature Pallid female (left) and immature Pallid male (right). Photos by Frits Hoogeveen (left) and Bart Hoekstra (right).

We're already getting good numbers of Pallid Harriers on most days. Contrary to other seasons, many of the birds are still moulting their feathers while on migration. Is this early migration, before finishing the moult cycle, a sign of bad conditions up north?

Early Imperial Eagle

Immature Imperial Eagle. Photo by Frits Hoogeveen.

We had our first Imperial Eagle of the season already on the 21st of August. The earliest previous record was from the 2nd of September, 2013.

White Storks

 A large flock of White Storks. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

A large flock of White Storks. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

One — for the bottleneck — massive flock of White Storks, totalling 423 birds, just 160 birds shy of our season average.

Impressive numbers of MonPals

Juvenile Montagu's Harrier. Photo by Bart Hoekstra.

We counted more than 1000 ‘MonPals’ on the 24th of August, one of our best days ever.

A gull

An adult Pallas' Gull flew right over the heads of many counters on the 23rd of August. Many bimbo-bells rung that moment!

Improvements to Station 2

Photo by Triin Kaasiku.

The beginning of the season has been dry and hot so cloudy moments like this on Station 2 are much welcome. The new tarp frame, funded by the department of tourism, functions perfectly!