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Raptor Migration Count, 01 Sept, Autumn 2014

Today it was a cloudy one, with northwesterly winds and quite a few migrating raptors.

An interesting day as we had a good passage of falcons and a Short Toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus, Φιδαετός), the first in this season. Also, as expected, a few Marsh Harriers.

In total, we counted:1 Short- toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
3 Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), two of which males and one female.
5 Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus), two males, one juvenile.
2 Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
5 Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus)

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Raptor Migration Count, 31 Aug, Autumn 2014

The wind finally dropped and changed to a mild northwesterly, but only at the end of our day of monitoring.

The count from today:
3 Black Kites (Milvus migrans);
3 Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)11 Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus)

At least one juvenile Hobby (Falco subbuteo) is stopping over on the island and also a juvenile Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)  often flies around.

One of the Honey Buzzard was quite tricky to identify due to a very worn plumage and atypical soaring silhouette, but as it went closer, the gliding silhouette and the small pigeon-like head were obvious.

Tomorrow we enter September and we expect, in the next days, an increase in the number of Marsh Harriers and the passage of other species.

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Raptor Migration Count, 30 Aug, Autumn 2014

Another day with strong wind and poor numbers, but with a new volunteer: Eli from Spain, who is experienced and a veteran in HOS.

So, here are todays numbers of migrating raptors: 4 Black Kites (Milvus migrans), 2 of which juveniles; one Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus); one unidentified large falcon (Falco sp.), that passed over very fast, but clearly in migratory direction.

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Silvia and the Wind

Among the non-raptors soaring birds, we recorded a White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), flying back and forth along the northwestern part of the island.

Raptor Migration Count, 29 Aug, Autumn 2014

Another day with strong northeasterly winds, up to 6 on Beaufort scale. Almost no raptors: even the resident Eleonora’s falcons and Kestrels were not flying much around. Only one Honey Buzzard was spotted in my wind-shaked binoculars, but the direction was opposite to that of migration. Perhaps it is just hanging around the island waiting for more favorable weather conditions to leave.

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Strong wind at Lidi

Raptor Migration Count, 28 Aug, Autumn 2014

Not as great as yesterday, with no rarities. Today we had 89 Honey Buzzards, 13 Black Kites and 1 Peregrine.

The Egyptian Vulture in Northern Greece left their breeding areas and we should see them soon.

Honey Buzzard - Antikythira 3

Raptor Migration Count, 27 Aug, Autumn 2014

A new day of passage, with a new species for the season: Saker Falcon!
The Honey Buzzards were mostly concentrated in one hour in the early afternoon, during which 228 passed, while other seen during the day. Total Honey Buzzards: 240.

But not only Honey Buzzards flew today:   3 Black Kites (juveniles), 1 Marsh Harrier (adut male, the first since we began 10 days ago) and, the most interesting observation of the day, 2 Saker Falcons (Falco cherrug, Στεπογέρακο). They passed at our eye level before gaining altitude again and disappear towards SSE. Unfortunately, none of us was able to take a pic of these beautiful falcons.

Honey Buzzards

 

Raptor Migration Count, 26 Aug, Autumn 2014

After the great numbers of yesterday, a poor count today, due to the strong northeasterly wind. Raptors, in fact, prefer to pass over the island of Antikythira with westerly and northwesterly weak winds. One Black Kite (Milvus milvus, Τσίφτης) passed very fast in front of us, while an unidentified Harrier (Circus sp.) has been spotted flying close to the coast. In the late afternoon, after the wind speed decreased and the direction changed, two Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus, Σφηκιάρης) climbed up a thermal over our watchpoint. To see them soaring very close to our eyes was rewarding enough to forget the windy and almost bird-empty day.

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Raptor Migration Count, 25 Aug, Autumn 2014

A good number of Honey Buzzards passed today, exceeding three hundreds and bringing some excitement at the watchpoint. Also, a new entry in the Autumn 2014 list: the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus, Ψαραετός).

Scanning the sky towards the sea, also we spotted a group of 23 Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax, Νυχτοκόρακας), to be added to the non-raptors record.

Here is the raptor list from today:
334 Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus)2 Black Kites (Milvus migrans)
1 Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
1 Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

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Raptor Migration Count, 24 Aug, Autumn 2014

158 Honey Buzzards were recorded today, 60 of them in one big flock. Other than that, only one Black Kite has been seen migrating, while a Marsh Harrier was hunting on the island, as well as the two Buzzards that we are seing since a few days.

We are all waiting to see some Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus, Ασπροπάρης), an endangered vulture whose population are dramatically declining.

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Counting the Eleonora’s Falcon

DSCN2624The Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae, Μαυροπετρίτης) is for sure the most abundant breeding species of the island.  In the framework of the «Conservation measures to assist the adaptation of Falco eleonorae to climate change» The Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) are to conduct a census of the island breeding population. Thus Angleos, Panos and Costas (the captain) arrived today all the way from Skyros.

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Around 15:30 we boarded Hydrovatis (one of HOS’s speed boat) in order to count the birds around the island’s coast. The weather was fine so everything went smooth

(More info about the total number of birds counted will come in a next post )