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25 September, 2019

Traineeship opportunity on Nepal Raptor Conservation Program (for migration count of raptors)

Raptors are highly mobile predatory birds; large numbers migrate from their breeding ground to the wintering areas in autumn and vice versa in spring. Monitoring of regional populations from the migration corridor is a very effective method to assess population trends for a number of migratory species. In Nepal Thoolakharka at Annapurna Rural Municipality of Kaski district is recognized as a globally significant sites from there >30 species of migratory raptors (majority are Steppe Eagles Aquila nipalensis nipalensis) migrate east to west following the Himalayan Mountains.

Since 2012, we have established annual autumn migration count of raptors at Thoolakharka watch site (aka Australian Camp) – approximately 30 km nowth-west from Pokhara. This year we aim to invite two trainees who has keen interest on raptor research and conservation. This traineeship provides hands-on training, work, and field experiences for individuals committed to develop career in raptor ecology and conservation. Raptor experts from Nepal and internationally will provide trainings on research techniques focus on migratory raptors, this include counting of migratory raptors, trapping techniques and use of GPS telemetry etc.


Workstation and Facility

The migration count will be conducted from 15 Oct and continued until 15 December at Thoolakharka watch site based on Australian Camp. Our workstation is only 2 minute working distance from the accommodation facility. Trainees will be provided sharing room for the accommodation and three meals each day. Additionally we will provide total stipend of NRS 20,000/trainee (for the entire period after the completion of program).


Work Responsibilities

Trainees should be committed to work hard in the extreme climatic conditions (extreme heat or cold fronts) and continuously for a long period (07:00 am to 5:00 pm). Trainees work shoulder-to-shoulder with professional mentors and he/she is responsible to assist the principal counter for daily flight interpretation, counting/recording, data management, educating and interacting with number of national and international visitor, school students and local people.


Number of Positions Available

Total two positions are available for this year.


Eligibility

Open to undergraduate and graduate students in Zoology, Environmental Science and other related subjects. Applicant should be committed to continue career in the conservation filed (highly encouraged raptor research and conservation). This year raptor migration period overlaps with one of the main Nepalese festival (Tihar or Depawali), so applicant should be committed not to take break for this period. Applicant familiar with Birds of Prey, having their optical equipment (own binoculars) or from the local area will have additional advantage.

Interested candidates are requested to send their recent CV (no more than 2 pages) before 04 October 2019 to internship.raptormigration@gmail.com stating career plans in 250 words or less (Why do you want to be a part of Nepal Raptor Conservation Program?, What is your career goal?) following a traineeship in raptor migration.

Only most appropriate candidates will be contacted.

23 October, 2018

We are Counting: Big Migration of Eagle on the Way

21 Oct 2018, My colleague Sandesh has begun migration count at Thoolakharka watch site, Nepal. This year we could set up the count little late so that we couldn't meet up our first Steppe Eagle, which is likely to come our watch site between 7 to 12 October. Based on our previous count, it is likely we missed to say Goodbye to approximately 50 (range: 10 - 110) Steppies. Therefore, this is just a beginning for Steppe Eagle migration in this part and  many more still waiting to make their first takeoff of this long journey from the Mongolian Steppes and some already did it and suffering to cross high Himalayas from the eastern Nepal and even Bhutan. Satellite tracking data shows they mostly enter from the eastern Himalayas and follow the east west extension of Himalayan Mountain chain.

Besides Steppies we get fairly good species of raptors (however in low number), previously 35 species of migrating raptors were recorded here. Additionally 11 resident raptor species are around this watch site, for e.g. these includes majestic Bearded Vulture and Mountain Hawk Eagle. In the last two days Sandesh has recorded 10 species on migration. I made a comparison on these species number with the previous counts. Although it is not a good way to compare the data for only 2 days because the variation on several factors alters the migration timing. However it is the easiest way to mapping migration trend over timing. Presenting you a list of species and number that we got during two initial days and the graph.

This year raptor migration count is sponsored by Raptours (http://raptoursllc.com/), sincere thanks for the generous support.




List of migrating raptors counted on 21 and 22 Oct

Oriental Honey Buzzard



4
Himalayan Buzzard 2
Eurasian Sparrowhawk 1
Steppe Eagle 33
Booted Eagle 5
Black Kite 6
Eurasian Hobby 3
Common Kestrel  3
Himalayan Vulture 9
Griffon Vulture 1