African-Eurasian day record from Batumi: 264.891 raptors

On 2nd October 2014 our counting team witnessed the largest passage of raptors ever seen outside of the Panamerican Flyway and counted 264.891 raptors in a single day!

The early morning started with outstanding Marsh Harrier migration. Later on, some flocks of Black Kites migrated one by one in a lazy flight. But suddenly after noon Steppe Buzzards started to kettle east and west of both our stations. Their large and wide streams covered all the sky, ending up in monster kettles, where complex kettles just merged with other nearby kettles. It was impossible to draw a line between the huge kettles as everything was connected.

In Sakhalvasho at our Station 1, the streams of Steppe Buzzards became streams of large eagles, including Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, Booted, Steppe, Greater Spotted and Imperial Eagles. The counters were intensely busy counting streams and identifying the Aquilas. A similar situation happened in nearby Shuamta at our Station 2 where Steppe Buzzards covered the sky. Everywhere around the station raptors dominated the air and this astonishing natural wonder took our breath away. It was hard work and not always enjoyable when you have to count them all and identify as many as possible. But at the end of day we were overwhelmed by being witness to the 2nd biggest raptor flyway system on Earth. Enjoy the photos and videos and visit us next year to support the raptor flyway.

Gaumardjos to the raptors!

Till the 2nd October the total of raptors counted in Batumi in autumn 2014 was 1,309,622.

2014Jasper Wehrmann