Last week the Raptor Research Conference was held inside the Kruger National Park in south Africa. It was a great meeting time for raptor biologists coming from many different continents. Particular attention was given to the conservation of Africa vultures but sessions covered almost all of the aspects of raptors ecology, behaviour and conservation. Our network was represented with two talks on the movement ecology of Black kites and of urban Peregrines. Fortunately there was some time for raptor watching.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Another field season ended. This autumn our monitoring was extended to check what happens around mid-October. Numbers of raptors and bee-eaters counted migrating through the Strait of Messina are impressive. 20.000 Honey buzzards, 2700 Marsh harriers, 1700 small falcons, 200 Booted eagles and 13.000 Bee eaters are just some numbers. The main field worker was Michele Cento that has spent longer than 2 months counting birds every day, helped sometime by a few lucky volunteers. See you in spring!
Thursday, October 11, 2018
In the last days hundreds of small falcons passed over our watchpoint at the Strait of Messina located on the Aspromonte mountain. Moreover, each day, a dozen of raptor species is observed even if in low numbers. Among them some scarse species like lesser-spotted eagle and merlin.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
In the last two days temperatures in Italy are dropping fast. Maybe this is the reason why many small falcons started to migrate south and yesterday we observed the passage of about 400 falcons at the Aspromonte mountain, Strait of Messina. Probably there are also other variables affecting the passage of these falcons at the Strait such as weather conditions encountered en route. But in any case observing the passage of hundreds of these small raptors flying fast over the watchpoint is amazing!
Thursday, September 13, 2018
In the last two days our main raptor counter (Michele Cento) took pictures (here below) of two eagles, one Lesser-spotted eagle and one Bonelli's eagle. The first species is a regular but scarce migrant at the Strait. The Bonelli's eagle is not a migratory species but the number of observations of this species is increasing in the Aspromonte mountain thanks to the conservationist efforts at their breeding grounds in Sicily.
Monday, September 10, 2018
A new paper by our research network has been published on Bird Study. The paper highlights the importance of using field protocols during counts of migrating birds and the need of sharing objectives and best practices among monitoring groups working in migratory bottlenecks. Moreover in the paper are reported case studies to show how can be useful to use a radar on migratory bottlenecks. First in order to localize focal points of passage, second to calculate the percentage of raptors passed undetected by visual observers, and last to evaluate the proportion of raptors undertaking the sea crossing on coastal areas.
You can find the paper at the link below:
- Panuccio M., Agostini N., Bogliani G. & Dell'Omo G. 2018. Migrating raptor counts: the need for sharing objectives and field protocols, and the benefits of using radar. Bird Study DOI:10.1080/00063657.2018.1506423
Saturday, September 8, 2018
The passage of raptors at the Strait of Messina in the first days of September was impressive. Our counters observed up to now the passage of 18477 Honey Buzzards! Of course also many other raptors were observed and in the last few days numbers of Marsh harriers are increasing.