Friday, 12 May 2017

Raptor Migration at Cape Tenaro - Spring 2017

Small number so raptors arrive at Cape Tenaro most days in spring; this was the case again this year. There was a particularly strong showing of several falcon species and harriers were in lower numbers than expected. As in previous years there was no attempt to systematically record raptor migration, observations were made informally while birdwatching in various locations on the headland. The only exception to this was an hour or so most lunchtimes when the team gathered at Paliros and were able to observe the east side of the mountain and the central valley.

Raptor Migration at Cape Tenaro 
22 April to 3 May 2017 

(NOTE: there was limited observations on 22 April and 1 May, and only 4 hours on 3rd May)


Species
Number
Honey-buzzard
7
Marsh Harrier
2
Hen Harrier
1
Montagu's Harrier
8
Harrier Sp.
2
Accipiter Sp.
1
Lesser Kestrel
1
Kestrel
54
Kestrel Sp.
15
Red-footed Falcon
19
Small Falcon Sp.
6
Hobby
8
Eleonora’s Falcon
1
Peregrine
1


Total
126

Note: The table has sought to exclude birds that had apparently stayed off passage for one or more days, so any individual is only counted once.

In addition the resident raptors - Short-toed Eagle, Common Buzzard and Peregrine have also been excluded. A group of 4 Short-toed Eagles on 24 April and a single Common Buzzard on 27 April (that flew off strongly north) hinted at migrants but could have referred to local birds exploring the headland. The Peregrine record included in the table refers to an immature bird that was seen arriving from the south at the lighthouse.

I've speculated before about the total numbers of migrant raptors that make their first landfall on the Mani after crossing the Mediterranean in spring. This year's observations serve to reinforce the importance of Cape Tenaro and the Mani peninsula as a whole as a landfall for migrant birds of prey. The estimate made in an earlier post (11 April 2013) of 500 to 1000 raptors arriving each spring may well be too conservative. 

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