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30 November, 2014

30 Nov (Day 77)- Raptor Migration Update (Thoolakharka Nepal)

Peregrine Falcon (ssp peregrinator)
Now we are towards the end of autumn migration season in Nepal. This year was certainly different than previous years because of the different weather and fluctuation on number of migrating birds. In the beginning of the season we had definitely better weather than last years because not much rain/cloud however in November we had mostly foggy days  because of moist air from the south, when it strikes with the cold mountain slopes and turns into fog. Therefore we had about 75% foggy days in November. In early season we had quite diverse species of raptors including falcons, eagles, vultures, OHB, sparrowhawk and buteos. Now the species diversity is going low and we are mostly getting eagles and vultures (Himalayan Vulture and Steppe Eagle). That means the falcon, OHB and Accipiter migration is over. If we compare the data of falcon migration from previous studies, this year seems to be a bad year for those species for example it seems the number of migrating Amur Falcon decline by around 500%. Not only falcons’ number of many raptors seen on migration is also declining. We are still waiting for some species like Short-toed Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagles, Indian Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Eagle etc. Frequency of sightings of local species like Mountain Hawk Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Besra, Peregrine Falcon, Slender-billed Vulture etc is also going down.
Last year we used to see many other passerine birds including several hundred Dark Throated thrush, martins etc. and we haven’t seen those species this year. The swallow migration is also going down. Now we have around 10 more days for the observation which will show us final result and I am hopeful to come with the final update very soon.
This year we had a great loss in the migration site in Nepal because we lost our great friend Henk Smit on 19th Nov- who was from Netherlands. Henk was inspiration for many hawk watchers and visitors to this place. I wish peaceful stay of his departed soul in the heaven and express my deep condolence to his family.


Details of the autumn 2014 migration is summarized below.      



Species
Total
Oriental Honey-buzzard
559
Common (Himalayan) Buzzard
65
Long-legged Buzzard
3
Upland Buzzard
7
Unidentified Buteo
2
Northern Sparrowhawk
103
Northern Goshawk
15
Shikra
13
Unidentified Sparrowhawk
3
Steppe Eagle
5514
Booted Eagle (Dark)
113
Short-toed Eagle
0
Crested Serpent-eagle
6
Pallas's Fish Eagle
2
Imperial Eagle
1
Indian Spotted Eagle
0
Greater Spotted Eagle
0
Bonelli's Eagle
20
Mountain Hawk-eagle
9
Golden Eagle
1
Unidentified Eagle
1
Black Kite
269
Black-Eared Kite
110
Osprey
2
Hen Harrier
17
Western Marsh Harrier
1
Pallid Harrier
2
Unidentified Harrier
4
Peregrine Falcon ssp. calidis
16
Saker Falcon
1
Eurasian Hobby
100
Amur Falcon
20
Lesser Kestrel
22
Common Kestrel
197
Unidentified Falcon
17
White-rumped Vulture
138
Egyptian Vulture
19
Himalayan Vulture
992
Cinereous (Black) Vulture
29
Eurasian Griffon
8
Unidentified Vulture
0
Unidentified Raptor
18
Total
8419