Sunday 12 December 2010

The black kite in Libya

I got some very good and interesting news from Essam Bourass who works for the Libyan EGA (Environment Authority) yesterday.

The EGA has an increased focus on birds these days which is much appreciated.

Their teams are finding out new data almost every day. With work by the EGA plus findings from ornithologists like Jens Hering and bird watchers like me and Gencer, Andy, Helen and Ibrahim there is a really sense of change here.

Anyway I nearly forgot to tell you what the good news is. Its about black kiteBlack kite has been virtually unreported in Libya but this year is different. 

It may be the most common raptor in the world but even "Raptors of the world"  (James Ferguson-Lees, David A. Christie) reflect previous research and pretty much suggest it doesn't come this way.

Black kite pictured between Benjawad and Sirt on November 1st by Essam Bourass (Libyan EGA) 

Essam Bourass took the above picture of a young black kite east of Sirt travelling east (purple cross on map below) . Apologies to him for my poor reproduction of his much better photo!

However this isn't all. A team from the Libyan EGA saw 90 black kite at Wadi Kaleg near Derna (purple spot on map below). This news is so hot I haven't established when they saw them but I am told they have since moved on.

accepted migration pattern of black kite using google map

Work by various researchers have counted typically 39K black kite using Gibraltar, 7K using Sicily and 4K using Istanbul to cross out of or in to Europe on migration. The numbers counted at Eilat sometimes reach over 30K too (I don't know how this number agrees with Istanbul figure -if it does then Central Asian black kite must link in). A number also migrate across Malta though I am not aware of research about where they go.

The generally accepted view is that Sicilian/Tunisian birds fly south west avoiding Libya.

Who knows where the birds seen in Libya came from though birds coming via Malta might the answer.

Either way I am very excited by this finding and if I find out anything else I will tell you as soon as I know. 

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