Wednesday, August 23, 2017

News from the Strait of Messina

In the last two days there was a good passage of raptors with more than one thousand individuals counted yesterday. Lot of Honey Buzzards but also a beautiful adult Egyptian vulture. Black kites moved slowly in the study area flying through very circuitous paths. Also the day before in the evening. Fortunately we tracked them by eye (and also by radar) to avoid double count. We are testing a new radar software and we tracked several flocks of raptors  migrating both on the highland and over the slopes of the mountain. Follow our raptor count here:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Migrating tagged kites in Sicily

Both tagged kites are now in western Sicily. They started the migratory journey around mid-august, three days distance from each other. Both passed the Strait of Messina where they have been observed by our raptor counters on the Aspromonte mountain. Now the two kites are roosting together and during the day they feed at agricultural fields, garbage dumps and lakes, together with several hundreds of other kites, waiting to undertake the crossing of the Channel of Sicily and reaching Africa. Here below a map with the tracks of the two kites and a detailed map of their passage through the Aspromonte mountain close to our watchpoint (the red star).

Monday, August 14, 2017

Migrating Black Kites

This summer we tagged two Black Kites  born in Decima Malafede Natural Reserve in the surrounding of Rome. Now the first of those birds is moving southward and this morning at 6 o clock it crossed the Strait of Messina reaching Sicily. The bird was observed by our raptor counters on the Aspromonte mountain flying in a flock of 19 birds. Here below two maps and a picture of the bird with the GPS tag. The bird has also a red coloured ring with a white code.
The project is run by Ornis italica with the support of Medraptors, the University of Pavia and RomaNatura.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Black Kites' nest

This is a video realized (by Michele Panuccio) few days ago in the Natural Reserve of Decima Malafede of two beautiful chicks. An adult individual is bringing them some food (a dead pigeon). This pair is in delay. The migration of Black Kites has already started and in the same moment of the video, tens of individuals have grouped together in the same area in a communal pre-migratory roost.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Call for volunteers - Autumn 2017

Autumn migration is coming as well as a new exciting season of raptor watching. If you are a raptor maniac or if you are simply curious to participate to a fieldwork you can join us and our count. 

We are going to start the field season the next 9th August and we are going on until the end of September. We will use one watchpoint where we will set a radar station to monitor raptor approaching the Strait of Messina from the mountain ridge. Our study area is along the western slope of the Aspromonte mountain and the last years we counted about 20.000 raptors. Most of raptors are Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Marsh Harriers and Kestrels/Lesser Kestrels. Other species regularly observed are: Montagu's and Pallid harriers, Ospreys, Egyptian Vultures and Black Storks. The monitoring activity is conducted by professional ornithologists and volunteers coming from different European countries.
Food and accomodation is provided for all volunteers. For further information write us an email.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Swimming griffon

This stunning sequence was taken by Juan Ramirez some weeks ago at the Strait of Gibraltar. Despite the Strait is only 14 km wide at its narrowest point, the largest raptors find serious difficulties to use flapping flight to overcome it. During the flight across the Strait it is not rare that some vultures or eagles died in the attempt of crossing the Strait. This time a Griffon Vulture fell into the sea but he was not discouraged and he reached the coast "swimming"!  The bird survived and when it dried up it flew away showing an amazing case of how any individuals fight for its survival.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Kite and the Jay

This video shows an adult Black Kite defending its nest from a jay. The video was taken two days ago by Jean-Philippe Audinet in the Natural Reserve of Decima Malafede that hosts a population of about 11 pairs of Black Kites. Unfortunately the population of this species in central Italy is declining probably because of a lack of resources.