Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Egyptian vultures at the Strait of Messina!

Two beautiful Egyptian vultures passed two days ago at the Strait of Messina and photographed on the Sicilian side by Michele Cento. Great sight!


Sunday, May 6, 2018

News from the Strait of Messina

The last two days were exciting for raptor migration at the Strait of Messina. On Friday we observed about 2700 Honey Buzzards and yesterday about 1000 more. Moreover 6 Griffon Vultures passed above our watchpoint together with several other species. It was amazing in the morning and in late afternoon to observe flocks of raptors passing low and at very close range, like the one of the picture below.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Poachers at the Strait of Messina

Between the afternoon of April 30th and the morning of the first of May an intense flow of migratory raptors, mostly Honey Buzzards, crossed the Strait of Messina passing through the area between the Catona's Valley in the south and the hills above Bagnara town in the north. Sadly tens of poachers took advantage of this early morning passage of birds to shot at raptors, thanks also to the low flight altitude of migrating hawks. Shooting against birds of prey have been heard in the upper areas of the municipalities of Scilla and San Roberto within the Natura 2000 site "Costa Viola" and up to the vicinity of the border of the Aspromonte National Park. A trick used by poachers was to shot close to firing ranges to mix their gunshots with those of the sportsmen.
The struggle conducted by environmental associations and the State Forestry Corps since the 80s has produced brilliant results and today poaching on the Strait of Messina is limited to a small number of fanatical nostalgics. 
Yet we know that on rare occasions, usually once per season, the poachers take advantage of particular weather conditions and of raptors' passage to go out again to shoot the birds of prey. They are helped by ruggedness of the Aspromonte area and by the isolation of many places that are not easy to reach despite the proximity to the coast.


Our associations have been working at the Strait of Messina since years to monitor and study raptor migration in collaboration with Italian and international research institutions. Ornithologists and volunteers from all over the world take part in our activities, and they are astonished by the emergence of these antisocial episodes.

We ask  Italian and European institutions to make their part garanteeing a stronger presence on the territory and we ask the Prefecture of Reggio Calabria to stop the activity of firing ranges in areas of raptors' passage during the migratory periods. However, we are convinced that the militarization of the territory is not the solution to this problem. It is necessary that governmental, European, regional and local institutions deal and support much more the biodiversity conservation, the monitoring and research projects, the environmental education and the ecotourism in the Strait of Messina area. That is the only area of ​​international relevance for the migration of birds of prey in the Central Mediterranean area. A peculiarity that makes  special and precious this territory but  also a responsibility for everyone.


Friday, April 27, 2018

News from the Strait of Messina

The last two days were amazing for raptor migration at the Strait of Messina. About 4000 Honey Buzzards were counted from our watchpoint. An impressive stream of soaring birds, also with several observed species. Here below the end of the day from our field station.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

News from the Strait of Messina

Monday and Tuesday were to epic days of migration at the Strait of Messina. Impressive numbers of Montagu's harriers together with Pallid and Marsh Harriers dominate the passage. However we recorded also the first intense passage of Honey Buzzards and Bee-eaters and small numbers of many other species. Amazing! (Pic. by G. Cumbo)


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

News from the Strait of Messina

Last two days were really good for migration at the Strait of Messina with hundreds of raptors observed from different watchpoints. Most of them were Marsh, Montagu's and Pallid harriers but we observed also Booted eagles, Short-toed Eagles, Ospreys, Sparrowhawks and Black Kites, together with small numbers of Black and White Storks.


Friday, April 6, 2018

MEDRAPTORS' papers in the top ten of ornithological journals

Two papers written by MEDRAPTORS' members appeared in the top ten of the most downloaded papers of Ibis (https://www.bou.org.uk/ibis/downloaded-ibis-papers-2017/) and Ardeola in 2017 (here below). This is a great result highlighting the appreciation of ornithological community towards our research activity!