Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Batumi, September-October 2015

Some very strange weather this season with an extremely hot September and an often very wet October. Migration started and peaked early for some species and didn't even start for some. I witnessed many raptors being shot including Lesser Spotted Eagles, Black Kites, Marsh Harriers and Honey Buzzards but also had some unforgettable days of eagle migration. The Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted and Steppe Eagle conundrum was again the most exciting part of the count for me but I wonder just how many hybrid LSExGSE we are missing. I have done my best to identify, sex and age all the raptors below but no doubt some will be incorrect. The 2016 season is almost upon us.  

Honey Buzzard, Batumi 2015


Juvenile approaching station 2 tourist platform.

Adult male

Adult male

Adult male

Adult female. Same bird appears a few photos down.

Adult male

Adult female. Trailing edge to wing still broad but more diffuse than male

Adult male. Middle tail band just clear of undertail coverts unlike many males.

Diffuse primary tips/trailing edge and tail bands as female. The primariy barring is quite poorly marked on this bird with very little barring in the secondaries.

Adult male

Adult female. This individual had a mostly bluish-grey head with a hint of brown on the cheeks.

Presumably female based on diffuse brownish primaries and trailing edge.

Remiges barring and tail barring no different to many males. Brownish crown and cheeks as female.

Same bird as above

Adult male

Adult female. Much barring in primaries and secondaries.

Adult male left with two females. Differences in trailing edge, primary and tail patterns quite clear. Field guides often make separating the sexes appear too easy.

Beautiful adult male

Adult male

Adult male

Adult male.

Adult female

Adult female

Adult male

Adult female

Adult male

Adult male

Adult male

This male appears to have survived a combine harvester.

Crested Honey Buzzard

Female - 3 9 15. Indistinct carpal, very broad wings and a protruding p5. Many of the CHB seen at Batumi are in moult at p4. Four new tail feathers approaching tip.

Female (right) with two Honey Buzzards nicely showing structural differences.

Adult male, dark - 6 9 15

Adult male, light - 6 9 15

Adult male, medium - 7 9 15

Adult female - 6 9 15. Less distinct trailing edge compared to male.

Adult male, medium - 8 9 15

Adult male, dark - 8 9 15

Adult male, medium - 9 9 15

Longer fingers and more bulging secondaries compared to the HB (right)

Adult male, medium - 16 9 15

Beautifully marked flight feathers, the finer bars would be invisible at distance.

Adult male, medium - 16 9 15. A male that nearly sneaked past station 1. Nice view of the tail pattern from above which you don't often get.

Adult male, light - 16 9 15

Adult female - 17 9 15

Adult male, light - 19 9 15

Adult male - 24 9 15

This fairly distant individual was mistaken briefly for a Short-toed Eagle such were its slow powerful wing-beats on really broad wings.