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Raptor Migration Count, 21 Aug, Autumn 2014

The 5th day of migration monitoring has been quite a good day. Several flocks of European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus, Σφηκιάρης) made up a sum of 72, and we counted 21 Black Kite (Milvus migrans, Τσίφτης) – two in the morning and one flock of 19 with two honey buzzards in the late afternoon – and, to finish, one  Steppe Buzzard, (Buteo buteo vulpinus, Γερακίνα) and 3 more unidentified Buteonibbio-dim

Getting ready to leave Europe …

DSCN0617Those how have been following this blog for a while, should have understand that I really like Garden Warblers ( Sylvia borin, Κηποτσιροβάκος); also known as the “Superior” on Antikythira. Today during some point counts the first of the species was observed for this season, doing what they do best this time of the year. Picking on Figs!

For now on and up to mid September Garden warbler will slowly arrive on Southern Greece in order to prepare themselves for the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea and the dessert of the Sahara. They need to accumulate fuel loads that will last for three to four days of flying as they might not be able to feed again until the crossed the southern borders of the Sahara.  What are they feeding on while building up body mass? Almost exclusively on Figs.

More info about the autumn migration of the Garden Warble can be found here:


Raptor Migration Count, 20 Aug, Autumn 2014

Most of the Honey Buzzards passing over Antikythira are usually seen in the last ten days of August. We wait for them and a new volunteer, Christopher, came just in time to scan the sky with us. As a welcome, one Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus, Καλαμόκιρκος), the first one for this Count, passed today together with a Black Kite (Milvus migrans, Τσίφτης). Both of them were juveniles. During the morning we observed also a single European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus, Σφηκιάρης). In the afternoon, two more and, after one hour, a group of 12, for a total of 15 Honey Buzzards. In the same flock with the Honey Buzzards,  a Common Buzzard, (Buteo buteo, Γερακίνα), was flying. Among the falcons, we’ve been able to spot again, among many, many Eleonora’s Falcons, an Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo, Δεντρογέρακο) hunting dragonflies.

The Barn Owl, the night king of Antikythira.

A ringed Barn Owl (Tyto alba, Τυτώ) just before releasing .

A ringed Barn Owl (Tyto alba, Τυτώ) just before releasing .

The Barn Owl (Tyto alba, Τυτώ) is for sure the top predator among the night raptors of Antikythira*. Two to three couples breed on the island and even though we have dedicated quite some time to find their nests we have not yet succeeded. The island is full of natural cavities and abandons houses/ ruins. Up to now we have found five active roosting sites which we are monitoring every season in order to collect their pellets.

After every season the pellets are sent to the Natural History Museum of Crete, were Yannis (a former volunteer) is studying the species’ diet. More than once have we found our own rings within the pellets as during the spring season the Barn Owl seems to have a big appetite for birds. Even the migrating Scops Owls (Otus scops, Γκιώνης) is often among it’s pray.

The juveniles are clumsier and often ending up in the nets, so we keep our fingers cross that we will get one this season as well.

*: Apart from the Barn Owl, Scops Owl, and Little Owl (Athene noctua, Κουκουβάγια) are also breeding on the island. The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus, Νανόμπουφος) is a common winter visor than some yearas stay up to spring.

The Kamarela beach were the Barn Owl has one of its roosts.

The Kamarela beach were the Barn Owl has one of its roosts.

Migration Count, 19 Aug, Autumn 2014

A few migrating raptors have been spotted today, but at least we could add two species at the 2014 autumn count. First we saw a single honey buzzard, in the morning, and we looked in vain for other. In the afternoon, a hobby swiftely passed close to us and, later on, a common buzzard has been observed.
Looking forward to see an increasing number of birds!

Migration Count, 18 Aug, Autumn 2014

A poor day for the raptor count, with no migrating raptors observed. But nothing to be worried about, the migration just started and bad weather in northern localities may have stopped or delayed the birds.
In the picture, our volunteer Dimitris looking at the clear sky.dimitris2

Some observations, 18/08/2014

A Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio, Αετομάχος)

A Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio, Αετομάχος)

The wind has dropped down today and some more birds were evident. It is still early so not a lot of migrants are here yet. In total we observed 15 species. Among the migrants we saw

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta, Λευκοτσικνιάς), Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus, Ωχροσταχτάρα), Alpine Swift (Apus melba, Βουνοσταχτάρα), Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava, Κιτρινοσουσουράδα),  Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata, Σταχτομυγοχάφτης), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio, Αετομάχος), Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor, Σταχτοκεφαλάς) and Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator, Κοκκινοκεφαλάς)

From the breeing birds we managed to see

Eurasian Scops Owl (Otus scops, Γκιώνης), Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius, Γαλαζοκότσυφας), Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala, Μαυροτσιροβάκος), Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis, Ασημόγλαρος), Rock Dove (Columba livia, Αγριοπερίστερο), Northern Raven (Corvus corax, Κόρακας), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus, Βραχοκιρκίνεζο) and Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae, Μαυροπετρίτης) which is by far the most common species seen on the island this time of the year


Migration Count, 17 Aug, Autumn 2014

Hello from the Raptor Counters! Today we started the monitoring of the Autumn migration 2014. A very windy day, indeed, with a small passage of birds. In total, seven European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus, Σφηκιάρης) and one Black Kite (Milvus migrans, Τσίφτης).


Back to Antikythira – Autumn season 2014


The overloaded ABO-mobile in Athens just before heading for the port

The time has come, the day bbefore yesterday  we packed the car) with supplies and equipment  (maybe too much!) and took the boat to Antikythira. The boat had a delay so we arrived quite early in the morning. The first day was dedicated to unpacking, cleaning and planning for the season.

Instead of going to bed early, we decided to join the locals and the tourists at the local fest of Agios Myronas, maybe the most important celebration that takes place on the island.

From this morning, Giacomo and Dimitris have gone to the observation point but Giacomo will inform you in a while…

Keep tuned at ABO’s blog and social media for daily updates regarding the raptor migration counts and the bid ringing campaign (which will start in a two weeks).


Unpacking the supplies


At Agios Myronas fest

Contribution number 16 from Antikythira Bird Observatory– Hellenic Ornithological Society / Η 16η επιστημονική εργασία για τον Ορνιθολογικό Σταθμό Αντικυθήρων – Ελληνική Ορνιθολογική Εταιρεία

Screenshot_2A new research paper on the impact of migratory birds appear to have on the dissemination of Rickettsia-infected ticks, some of which may originate from distant locations. The data of this paper were collected at ABO and Capri of Italy.

Please visit the Journals Web site to access the full text


Μια νέα επιστημονική εργασία που αναφέρεται στη στην δυνατότητα διασποράς ενδοκυτταρικών βακτηριών του γένους Rickettsia από τα μεταναστευτικά πουλιά. Η διασπορά των παρασίτων δεν πραγματοποιείται απευθείας από τα πουλιά αλλά από τσιμπούρια που είναι προσκολλώμενα σε αυτά. Η εργασία βασίζεται σε δεδομένα που συλλέχτηκαν από τον Ορνιθολογικό Σταθμό Αντικυθήρων και τον αντίστοιχο ορνιθολογικό σταθμό του Capri στην Ιταλία.

Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες ανατρέξτε στην ιστοσελίδα του επιστημονικού περιοδικού όπου διατίθεται το πλήρες κείμενο του άρθρου.