Blog Posts

Catching up with the Greater spotted eagle – Part One

It’s embarrassing to realize that it has been almost two months since we last posted something to the blog. After a long summer away, the GSE that we have been tracking (6488) returned to Kuwait on 16 October. It was almost immediately observed by the Kuwait Environmental Lens team, and photographed (See below).

Blog 2.1

Greater spotted eagle upon its return to Al Jahr, 16 October 2020 (Photo: Omar Al Sayed)

During its time away, 6488 migrated to central Asia, wandered over a huge area in western Kazakhstan and southern Russia, then migrated back to Kuwait.  Below is a map of the movements,  The contours around the GPS locations are produced by what is called a dynamic Brownian Bridge movement model.  The contours estimate the likelihood of a bird being at any place at any given time.  The outermost contour is the area we predict with very high confidence was used by the bird, and is the area in which the bird must have spent 100% of its time.  The area used by the bird during the time between leaving Kuwait and returning, was something on the order of 473,000 sq, km!  During spring migration it travelled about 2847 km; during summer it travelled 14,927 km(!); during autumn migration it travelled 2611 km.


Spring, summer and autumn movements of Greater spotted eagle 6488 (Map © KEL?KFAS/IAR)


Dr. Mike McGrady

is an ecologist, specializing in raptors, including eagles. He has worked on a variety of projects over the past 30 years on raptors in Arabia, and has worked on raptors in Central Asia that migrate to Arabia.

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