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TWO RAPTORS ON THE MOVE

Posted on the 20th April 2020

Migratory Eagle Update - 13.4.2020

Our Wahlberg's female disappeared from transmission for a few days last week, but re-surfaced when she transmitted from the northwestern border of Zambia with the DRC, about 1,400km north of where she departed from central Kruger on the 2nd of April. She moved north an average of 162km per day since departing and certainly seems to be in a hurry to reach the wintering grounds which will likely again place her in a transmission dead-spot until she makes the return-journey south in August/September.

The satellite-tagged Lesser Spotted Eagle that was released from the Dullstroom Bird of Prey Centre on the 17th of January rapdily made her way north to southern Zambia, but has been spending most of her time just to the west of the Kafue National Park since then, undertaking short local movements, likely between feeding opportunities. It is likely that these stop-overs are either Quelea-colonies or areas of shallow water with tadpole and small amphibians irruptions that are providing good feeding opportunities.

With most of the breeding Lesser Spotted Eagles already back on the breeding grounds and lining nests, it seems unlikely that she will undertake the migration back to eastern Europe or western Asia this year. It is likely that she will attempt to over-winter, something which is not unusual in a number of other Palearctic migratory raptors such as Osprey and Eurasian Honey Buzzard. Following the excellent wet season experienced in western Zambia, it is possible that she may hang around there until the onset of the next wet season. Who knows?

If she is still around and in the same area by the second half of July, I might be tempted to go and look for her when I am in Zambia for fieldwork.

Holding thumbs that both females will do well in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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