Saturday, 23 May 2015

White Storks, Istanbul Airport, 29 August

While waiting for my connecting flight to Georgia I noticed this huge flock of White Storks heading south through the Bosphorus.

Batumi Raptor Count, August 30 - October 16, 2014

An approaching wall of Honey Buzzards on 7th September. I think we counted nearly 80,000 in just a few hours on this particular afternoon.I had never witnessed extreme migration like this before. A huge thank you to the Batumi Raptor Count organizers for all their incredibly hard work and continued dedication in trying to make the Batumi bottleneck a safer passage for birds. Now all I need to do is to sort through all the videos that I took!

Aquila Eagles, Batumi

I have tried my hardest to identify all of the following Steppe, Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted Eagles. However, no doubt some will be incorrectly identified and odd ones may even be hybrids. My experience with these three aquila species was very limited before visiting Batumi in autumn 2014 and it became a very steep learning curve without a summit. As an aquila eagle approaches one of the count stations you are torn between either grilling it in the scope or taking photos of it. Ideally you need to do both if you want to have a reasonable chance of identifying a high percentage of them. Plus at the same time you must not forget that your main objective is to count. I think the above photo may show a rather pale bodied / headed Greater Spotted Eagle but I could be wrong.

Juvenile Lesser Spotted / Greater Spotted Eagles, Batumi

LSE, juvenile.

LSE, juvenile. Darker than the above bird.

27 Sept - GSE, juvenile. Barring in the remiges runs out before tip, compare LSE above.

Splayed primaries with relatively long P4. Very dark underwing coverts with white restricted to bases of outer primaries.

27 Sept - LSE, juvenile. Less bulging arm and hand compared to the above GSE. Short P4 also.

LSE, juvenile. Very mottled underwing coverts on this bird. Also short P4 and longish tail.

8 Oct - GSE, juvenile. Tip of P9 broken in left wing.

Same juvenile GSE above a LSE. Nice comparison showing the difference in wing structure especially length of P4 although it is not always this obvious in the juveniles.

LSE, juvenile with serious gun shot damage including blood splattered legs.

LSE, juvenile.

LSE, juvenile. A very pale streaked individual.

GSE, juvenile.

Juvenile Lesser Spotted / Greater Spotted Eagles continued

12 Oct - GSE, juvenile. Digi-scoped as it slowly passed Station 2.

A stunning juvenile, digi-scoped as it passed Station 2.

12 Oct - GSE, juvenile. More white on the uppertail coverts than above bird.

15 Oct - GSE, juvenile

16 Oct - GSE. At first glance looks like a juvenile but there appears to be a new (slightly protruding) middle secondary in both wings? I would expect the outer primaries to be really worn if it was a 2cy.

Solid white uppertail and rump area.

3 Oct - GSE. Worn juvenile?

3 Oct - GSE, juvenile.

GSE, juvenile

GSE, juvenile

Solid dark underwing coverts, white bases to outer primaries and long P4 all obvious. This juvenile shows no barring to the remiges unlike a similar aged LSE. Nice S- shaped curve to rear edge of wing and splayed primaries typical of juvenile.

LSE, juvenile. Short P4 compared to above GSE but not always this obvious. Finely barred remiges obvious. Juvenile LSE usually a shade lighter in build and slimmer winged compared to GSE but not always.

10 Oct - GSE, juvenile. Slightly longer primaries and fuller hand than the above LSE.

LSE, juvenile.

27 Sept - LSE, juvenile.

LSE, juvenile. A beautifully streaked individual.

2 Oct - LSE