Raptor Camp 2012 Daily Updates

 

Daily diary from Raptor Camp teams in the field monitoring bird migration and preventing illegal hunting.

 

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Monday 1st - Sunday 7th October

Post-Raptor Camp monitoring

 

Although Raptor Camp ended on the 30th September a few hardy volunteers remained to continue monitoring activites with BirdLife Malta employees and interns. While the peak for raptor migration may have have passed, many falcon species and other birds of prey continue to migrate into October and are not protected by the 3pm hunting ban, which is only in place between the 15th and 30th September. These birds try to find a roost while hunting is permitted in the evening, and with few volunteer teams out deterring illegal hunting, protected bird species are expected to be shot and killed.

 

 


Sunday 7th October

 

AM

This morning two teams visited four different locations.

Four protected birds- three kestrels and a Honey Buzzard- were seen shot at in two locations

Police were seen patrolling at only one location.

PM

Second flock of Greater Falmingos shot in the space of a week

Two teams went out for the final shift of the week, one heading south, the other north.

The southern team were having a quiet afternoon much the same as the team in the north, who were situated at Gharghur looking inland. They had a large flock of hirundines feeding, with one swallow having an injured wing. Two Common Kestrels also appeared, one also with an injured wing. By chance one of the team members looked out to sea and was surprised to almost immediately come across a flock of around 60 Greater Flamingos heading towards Salina.

Other team members soon got on to them and as they were sighted in the scope a speedboat entered the frame scaring the flock. As the flock moved several birds fell from the sky, obviously shot. It was quite unbelievable that within seconds of sighting them a flock of flamingos crossing a busy stretch of water less than 1km from the shore, were being targeted by poachers. The speedboat paused to pick up the fallen victims then continued in its pursuit of the flock until they were lost to view.

The southern team were informed along with ALE and the AFM. ALE met the team at Gharghur within minutes but were unable to do much as the boat had vanished and there were no closer witnesses. An AFM patrol boat was seen going out to sea on a search but they too were unsuccessful.

Both teams moved to new vantage points overlooking the north east coast but were unable to find the flamingos again. It can only be hoped that they were able to gain some height and get away from the pursuing poachers.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Saturday 6th October 2012

 

AM

The morning of the 6th was very quiet.

Two teams were out in the countryside and a Commone Kestrel was seen in flight with damaged wing.

Police were seen at one of the two locations visited.

PM

but in the afternoon there were a lot of illegalities recorded at Bingemma Fort. The team there watched as a pair of poachers shot and killed numerous barn swallows and a hobby was also shot down as evening drew in. A honey buzzard also flew over and was shot at 7 times but amazingly it flew on unharmed!

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Friday 5th October 2012

 

AM

After the frantic activity of the previous 2 days it all began to quieten down on the 5th.

Two teams were out in the morning and several illegal electronic lures were recorded.

No police patrols were observed. 

PM

In the early afternoon a member of the public reported seeing four egrets  shot down in Mellieha. A team went to the area but were unable to locate any birds or poachers. The member of public who had witnessed the incident reported seeing the poacher swim out to the fallen birds in the sea and recover them.

At Delimara a low flying Short-eared Owl was shot at several times but it escaped unharmed.

Three teams visited six different locations, but no police patrols were seen.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Thursday 4th October 2012

 

AM

Vultures continue migration under guard

As the sun rose on the 4th all the night watches had been successful. The two Egyptian Vultures made it safely through to dawn, but everyone’s hearts were in their mouths when the vultures were disturbed by a hunter's dog and flew low towards the cliffs. Luckily they alighted on the cliff safely, where local birdwatchers, ALE units, CABs teams and BirdLife Malta teams watched them until they finally flew safely out to sea, continuing the migration south to Africa.

In another part of Dingli another raptor wasn't so lucky, being shot down in front of a BirdLife volunteer.

Flamingo rescue pt.2

Over at Salina, the flamingo was flushed by an ALE unit but returned to the salt pans after a brief flight, it’s leg visibly hanging limp as it flew. It was clear a rescue attempt had to be made.

The young flamingo was visibly getting weaker so it was decided a final rescue attempt had to be made. Thanks to the help of volunteers assisted by the ALE, the bird was finally captured and taken to the  government veterinary services.

PM

This afternoon three teams visited eight different locations. Seven incidences of shooting at protected species- including a Hobby, a Sparrowhawk, kestrels and BarnSwallows- were witnessed in four different locations. The ALE were called about two of these incidents, but in both cases failed to attend the scenes.

Police patrols were only seen in two locations.

Flamingos die in surgery

Despite everyone’s best efforts, both flamingos died during surgery. The injuries they had sustained and the shock they suffered as a result of their shooting was too much for them.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 




Wednesday 3rd October 2012

 

AM

Greater Flamingos shot by illegal hunter(s)

News of the flock of Greater Flamingos was confirmed in the morning with birdwatchers seeing the flock coming under fire in the Qawra area. BirdLife Malta received a call from a member of the public, informing them of an injured flamingo in Salina salt pans and teams were immediately sent to the location. They soon found a juvenile Greater Flamingo, clearly maimed with a seriously injured left leg and blood visibly dripping from the top of the leg.

The bird was flushed by workers on the salt pans but remained in the area, clearly weak and in pain. ALE officers with the help of BirdLife Malta volunteers attempted to rescue the bird, however the bird kept flying off and it was decided that another trial would be made later in the day. Birdlife volunteers and ALE officers kept a watch on the bird throughout the rest of the day.

PM

Second injured flamingo

In the afternoon, BirdLife Malta was informed of the possibility of another injured flamingo near Qawra point. A team in the area spotted a second juvenile stuggling in the waves 100m off Qawra point. The sea was choppy and the bird could not be rescued from land safely.

The AFM (Armed Forces of Malta) were alerted, and a patrol boat was dispatched to rescue the bird. When it was brought ahsore, the bird evidently injuries to both legs, one wing and neck. The ALE took the injured flamingo to the government veterinary service.

In the meantime, the first flamingo at Salina had settled in the middle of the salt pans, making attempts at retrieving the bird difficult.

Night watch for rare Egyptian Vultures

As the day came to an end it was about to get much busier. Two juvenile Egyptian Vultures had arrived in Malta, a very rare sighting of these magnificent birds.

Teams were immediately sent to high points and possible roost sites around the island to make sure the birds left Malta safely, however, after being shot at in Dwejra they decided to roost in a quarry close to Dingli cliffs. BirdLife Malta, CABS and RSPB Investigations staff surrounded the quarry and stayed overnight guarding all entries to the quarry site until police made their presence again in the morning.

Flamingo night watch

This was not the only night watch going on, another BirdLife Malta team watched over the Salina flamingo as rescue attempts had proved futile so far. Salina is notorious for past incidents in recent years when poachers have gone into this bird sanctuary at night and shot at protected species such as spoonbills and flamingos.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Tuesday 2nd October 2012

 

AM

Only two teams this morning very quiet for migration. Despite this one team recorded a dozen illegal electronic lures for Quail and Golden Plover and saw a kestrel shot at and injured Barn Swallows in flight.

PM

In the evening, news broke of a flock of flamingos near St. Paul’s Islands, however the flock could not be located.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Monday 1st October 2012

 

AM

Four teams monitored four locations in Malta this morning. Three protected birds were seen shot down on the first morning of October, including a Honey Buzzard in St Katerina and a Common at Dingli. ALE responded quickly but were unable to locate bird or poachers.

No other polices units were seen patrolling.

PM

In the afternoon one team spotted a fire on the edge of the Foresta 2000 reserve. Fortunately the fire brigade responded rapidly and it was brought under control. In the same afternoon, three falcons were shot at and a Common Kestrel shot down at Tal-Virtu’. The ALE responded to the team's call, but by the time officers arrived at the scene the perpetrator had gone.

No other polices units were seen patrolling.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Sunday 30th September:

Day 15 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

The final day of Raptor Camp and another quiet morning for migration. But the story remained the same- even with so few birds coming through there were still several incidents of shooting at raptors.

Two Kestrels, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier were shot at in three different locations. The shooting of the Marsh Harrier was reported to the ALE, as the team had identified the suspect's vehicle, but two hours later they had still not arrived at the scene.

Sightings highlights were a Dotterel seen at St Lucia, one Short-eared Owl (this one not shot at), a Sparrowhawk and a Great White Egret.

One team found a trapping site being prepared within Majistral Nature and History Park and were confronted agressively by the owners, who eventually left within further incident. Upon further investigation BirdLife discovered that the site lies within a protected Natura 2000 site, where trapping is not permitted. This information and supporting video evidence has been passed to the authorities. See the video below.

Illegal trapping site in Majjistral Nature and History Park, 30th September 2012:

 

Five teams went out this morning and all them witnessed hunting illegalities at their respective locations.

For the second time in two days there were no police patrols seen.

PM

Only 4 teams went out into the field this afternoon.

There was illegal shooting after the 1pm Sunday hunting ban at two locations and several protected birds were seen flying with typical shotgun injuries, including Common Kestrels and an Eleonora's Falcon.

Again, no police patrols were seen this afternoon.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Saturday 29th September:

Day 14 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

The peak for raptor migration appears to have passed, but still getting falcons coming through, with Common and Lesser Kestrels and Hobbies being seen. The illegal targeting of protected birds though, continues.

The team at Dingli found a dead raptor at the side of the road, it was filmed and photographed but not recovered, so it impossible to say if it was shot.

At Wadijra volunteers encountered a hunter who spoke to them and said he was legally allowed to shoot feral pigeons if they were on his land and shot at several to prove it.

A Marsh Harrier was shot down with four shots at San Niklaw. The ALE attended to conduct a search, but the outcome is unknown. The team also saw two Montagu’s Harriers come through, which were not shot at.

Five out of the nine teams recorded hunting illegalities this morning, including four incidences of shooting at protected species, in three of which the bird was seen to going down.

Only one team saw the ALE- when they responded to the call about the Marsh Harrier shot in San Niklaw- out of the 9 teams in the field this morning.

PM

Our penultimate day of Raptor camp and yet another quiet afternoon's migration watch.

The only things in the skies seemed to be the aircraft from Malta’s airshow.

Police patrols were non-existent and for the first time this Raptor Camp there were no shots heard all afternoon.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Friday 28th September:

Day 13 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

Continuing on from yesterday there were very low numbers of migrating birds.

Two Short-eared Owls were seen in Dingli and this time neither were shot at before the team lost sight of them. 

Four teams recorded illegal electronic lures being used, including some for waders.

Similar to yesterday afternoon police were virtually invisible this morning, with patrols seen in only two out of eight locations.

PM

10 teams went out this afternoon. Migration was yet again slow.  An Osprey being the main bird of note.

However, one team discovered a very large stash of stuffed birds discarded in a skip. They informed the police, who arrived with officials to remove the birds. The birds were in poor condition and could be from the 1993 amnesty for collections of stuffed protected birds.

Again, only one team out of the 10 saw any ALE and again they were responding to a call from the team.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 

 


Thursday 27th September:

Day 12 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

The migration didn’t pick up at all this morning. However, at Santa Katarina another Honey Buzzard was again seen being shot at- luckily this one didn't appear to be hit and kept flying.

At Delimara, a man was seen hunting with a shotgun inside Xrobb L'Ghagin Nature Park, where hunting is banned. The ALE were called, but took more than 45 minutes to respond, by which time the man had disappeared. Fortunately the team recorded the incident and an investigation report together with video evidence identifying the suspect will be submitted to the ALE.

An unfortunate milestone was reached today, when we received the 21st shot protected bird since the beginning of the hunting season. By this time last year we had only received 13. The true total number of protected birds shot by poachers in Malta is unknown as most  are never found.

PM

This afternoon concluded the third consecutive day of quiet migration, with the most sightings at Mtarfa with 30 raptors being seen, and Laferla Cross, where 200 Yellow Wagtails flew through along with 33 raptors.

Despite this, four teams still recorded illegal hunting activities, including shooting during the hunting ban and using electronic lures. Two injured birds were seen in flight and two trapping sites were found. 

Police presence was low, with patrols only seen at three of the 12 different locations visited.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Wednesday 26th September:

Day 11 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

Another quiet morning following on from yesterday, with a few Honey Buzzards and Marsh Harriers seen emerging from roosts.

Sightings highlights were a Short-eared Owl and a Black Kite, which was unfortunately seen to have a shotgun injury to one wing.

The team at Mtahleb were accosted by 3 hunters who told them they were on private land and wanted them to move on, despite being on a public road- a common problem encountered by teams in certain parts of the island.

The small number of birds of prey didn't stop some hunters from shooting at the few that did fly over and the team at Santa Katerina again saw a raptor shot down across the valley from their watch-point and another shot at as it flew over the same spot.

Other illegalities recorded include the use of electronic tape lures, use of an illegally modified shotgun and shooting within 50m of a main road. There were also Kestrels and an unidentified raptor seen flying with shotgun injuries.

Police were only seen by three out of the ten teams in the countryside. 

PM

Migration still slow. The location with the most birds was Laferla Cross (overlooking Buskett). The team there had a Black Kite almost immediately and recognised it as the same bird with the damaged wing (identical injuries) from Delimara in the morning.

More dead protected birds found at Mizieb

Since the afternoon was so quiet, the team at Mizieb decided to have a look around and turn over some stones, in the light of past incidents of large numbers of dead protected birds being found in the woodland. To their amazement, a very short search in a small area turned up 13 dead protected birds. The majority were old corpses but some, like a collared dove were relatively fresh, probably dating from this hunting season. While checking the site with security a poacher carrying a shotgun emerged from the undergrowth but fled when spotted. Police, security and a member of the team gave chase but to no avail as the poacher mad it to his car and escaped. In was dark when ALE officers arrived with MEPA officials to collect the bodies, which will be kept by MEPA to be analysed.

Illegal shooting outside of hunting hours was again recorded by seven out of the 10 teams in seven different parts of the island.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Tuesday 25th September:

Day 10 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

After yesterday’s quiet afternoon this morning was very similar, with small numbers of Marsh Harriers, Honey Buzzards and Kestrels recorded passing over the island.

Instead there was a lot of Quail hunting seen and illegal electronic Quail lures were recorded in five out of nine locations visited.

At Majjistral an ALE unit responded to a call from the team about a lure, but the officers' two minute search failed to discover the offending equipment, the lure having been turned off when they arrived at the scene.

No protected birds were recorded being shot at anywhere- there not being any to shoot at- and it seemed that this might be the first bloodless morning until the team at Delimara saw a Little Egret shot at five times and fall from the sky, visibly injured in the neck.

However, the team, assisted by police, weren't able to recover the bird.

PM

10 teams headed out with all in Malta apart from one which moved to Gozo.

Black Storks roost in Gozo

Again the migration was quiet but the main highlight of the day were 4 black storks (it seems to be a good autumn for them). Most teams caught sight of the storks as they headed north to Gozo- to the dismay of the birders hoping they would continue their journey south to safety- after flying around Malta for most of the afternoon. Again a watch was established, together with CABS teams in Gozo, but no more was seen of the Storks after sunset.

Laferla Cross, overlooking Buskett, was again the busiest location for raptors migration- they seem to know where it's safe. 160 or so Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzards and a few falcons passing through as well as the Black Storks. 

Interesting bird behaviour was recorded at Wardija, where the team there spotted an Eleonora’s Falcon actually hunting and catching a bat at dusk.

Six of the 10 teams recorded illegal shots during the ban on hunting after 3pm, which is put in place specifically to protect birds of prey migrating in the second half of September. All except one team observed protected birds flying with typical gunshot injuries- one of the saddest sights of the migration.

 

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Monday 24th September:

Day 9 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

After the activities in Santa Katerina yesterday evening a team arrived there early and saw around 40 raptors- two of them shot at but flying on.

Migration was generally slow, with only low numbers of raptors (mainly honey buzzards and marsh harriers) being recorded.

Police were seen patrolling at only three of the 10 locations monitored, while illegalities were recorded at 7 of these locations.

Four of the teams saw protected birds shot at and the team at Rdum tal-Madonna recorded a marsh harrier being shot down. After being ignored by a mobile police unit when they tried to flag it down the ALE were rung and came to assist in searching for the bird but were unable to retrieve it.

PM

A very quiet afternoon on the migration front with only a very small number of raptors passing through and no large roosts of raptors spotted.

Despite this, illegal shots fired during the ban on hunting were heard at six of the locations visited by the 10 teams around the island. There were sightings of injured marsh harriers and hobbies with injured wings.
At Tal Virtu shots at a Marsh Harrier caused the bird to change direction quickly, but didn't bring it down.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 

 


Sunday 23rd September:

Day 8 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

We were back up to 10 teams again this morning.

It was a bit quiter on the raptor front- some of the birds seen yesterday may have continued their southward journey to Africa. Sightings though included Bee-eaters, a Whinchat, a Sparrowhawk, Lesser Kestrels, 20 Grey Herons and a small flock of Great White Egrets.

Most of the raptors seen coming into roost yesterday were observed leaving in the morning, but not without casualties. 5 of the teams witnessed shooting at birds of prey leaving their roosts and three saw birds hit and go down. The team at Santa Katerina saw 6 raptors shot at, two of them killed.

PM

10 teams went out into the field this afternoon. It was a quiet session for a number of teams who saw little evidence of migration.

However, there were some locations where the number of birds created an amazing spectacle, especially Laferla Cross and Tal Virtu, where the teams counted 800+ and 350+ raptors respectively, including Marsh Harriers, Honey Buzzards, Black Kites and Short-eared Owls.

Illegal shooting was recorded in 5 locations and in Santa Caterina, the team on watch there called the local ALE after hearing repeated illegal shots. After a search of the area a hunter was found in possession of a gun, illegal lures and an illegal quail trap. The hunter was arrested at the scene and will hopefully be successfully prosecuted.

 

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 

 


Saturday 22nd September:

Day 7 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

This morning saw nine teams out in the countryside around Malta.

Sightings included four Night Herons, six Grey Herons Honey Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and Ketsrels.

Three teams saw protected birds shot- two of them, a Common Kestrel and a Honey Buzzard, killed. Shots were heard as eight Marsh Harriers left their roost at Mizieb, but luckily they made it away safely. Illegal electronic lures were recorded in six locations, mostly for Quail, but also for waders and ducks.

Police were only seen in two of the locations visited.

PM

Black Stork Watch 

After news of another sighting of a Black Stork teams this afternoon set out with the intention of finding the bird and following it to its roost. The Stork was spotted early in the afternoon and was observed by one team being shot as it flew between Buskett and Dingli. It stayed in the air, but was lost over the horizon. This time teams were positioned around the area where yesterday's stork had been last seen, but this time the Stork didn't come to roost in the location being monitored. The fate of this last stork is again unknown.

Black Stork flying over Buskett area.

 One of the Black Storks seen flying over Malta. 

Otherwise, the afternoon saw strong migration. A 200 strong flock of Swallows was seen at Dingli, 150 Bee-eaters at Buskett and more than 400 raptor sightings across the teams.

Teams witnessed illegal shooting at Kestrels, an Osprey and Honey Buzzard. One Kestrel was seen shot down and the team contacted the ALE, who managed to retrieve the injured bird, which they kept to tak to the government vet.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Friday 21st September:

Day 6 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

Teams were up to 10 this morning, boosted by more new arrivals.

Bird highlights included hearing a Wryneck, more sightings of Great White Egrets, 19 Night Herons and several Sparrowhawks. 

A Grey Heron was seen being shot out of the sky shortly after leaving its roost in Mizieb, however a low Osprey escaped unscathed.

Illegalities were recorded at eight out of the 12 locations visited.

Police patrols were extremely low with only 2 being seen by the 10 teams out and about. 

PM

9 teams went out this afternoon and strong migration of raptors was seen, with 250+ Marsh Harriers and Honey Buzzards at Buskett alone.

Around the island the highlights were a dark phase Eleonora's Falcon, three Ospreys, two Red-footed Falcons, one Peregrine and a Pallid Harrier. The team at Zurrieq saw 70 Yellow Wagtails and there was a Black-eared Wheatear also spotted.

Illegal shooting was recorded at 6 of the 9 locations visited.

Black Stork Watch

A solitary Black Stork was again seen followed as far as Mtahleb. The bird was later seen going into an area of dense undergrowth and shortly afterwards shots were heard from the same area. It is highly likely that this bird was killed.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 

 


Thursday 20th September:

Day 5 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

Black Stork Watch 

After a night watch at the area where the Black Storks were last seen there were no furthers sightings of the birds- it is hoped they moved on during the night.

 

A quiet morning around the 8 locations visited but with some sightings of Honey Buzzards and Marsh Harriers leaving roosts.

Bird highlights included a Dotterel along with a male Montagus Harrier seen at Dingli and Lesser Kestrels were spotted at various locations.

Raptor migration was generally poor, but there was still shooting of protected birds recorded, with one team filming a Common Kestrel dodging shots.

PM

This afternoon 9 teams headed out as more raptor camp participants arrived in Malta. Soon after heading out we received reports of a black stork flying north extremely high but it wasn't seen anywhere else on Malta, however it could have been one of yesterdays birds.

Out of 11 locations only 5 police patrols were seen this afternoon and 3 locations heard illegal shots.

Bird species highlights included Great White Egrets, Eleonoras Falcon, Montagu's Harrier and Tawny Pipits. 

A Honey Buzzard was recorded being shot over Tal Virtu but amazingly after falling from the sky continued flying!

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Wednesday 19th September:

Day 4 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

Teams were out early to resume the watch over yesterday's roosting Harriers. 50 were seen leaving Mizieb, but only five were counted coming out of the roost at Bahrija. Possibly the birds moved to a different area before the light came up. There were shots heard in the area, but no-one seen.

Two mixed flocks of Purple and Grey Herons (the largest of 30-40 birds) were the highlight of the day. 

PM

Black Stork Watch

Raptor Camp transformed into Black Stork Watch this afternoon, after four of these large and striking birds arrived in Malta. 8 teams went out to watch over the evening raptor roosts and were soon alerted to the presence of these uncommon and beautiful migrants, which flew nearly the length of Malta several times. Shots were heard as the storks passed Nadur and the birds split up, with 2 seemingly disappearing while the other 2 headed north.

Illegal shots were heard at 60% of the locations visited by our teams.

Teams also saw two Nightjars and several Alpine Swifts.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now! 

 


Tuesday 18th September:

Day 3 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

This morning 8 teams visited 10 locations around Malta. There was reasonable migration of Marsh Harriers, as well as some other raptors, including Sparrowhawks, Common Kestrels and Hobbys. Delimara provided one team with a migrating flock of 40 Grey Herons, one of which had an injured leg.

However, the hot spot for illegal hunting was at San Niklaw, where two raptors and one unidentified broad-winged bird were shot down (the team managed to record one of these incidents on camera).

 

Police were called, but after a search of the area they were unable to find anything.

PM 

8 teams went out this afternoon. Several protected birds were seen flying with gunshot injuries, including a Bee-eater and Marsh Harrier, and a Marsh Harrier was shot down at San Niklaw.

Sightings highlights were an Osprey, seen by two teams, and Eleonora's Falcon passing over Mtahleb.

Nightwatch 

Later on two large roosts of Marsh Harriers (70+ birds) were seen forming at Bahrija and Mizieb. Teams remained watching the roosts late into the night to try to ensure the birds made it through to morning.

 

 Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Monday 17th September:

Day 2 of Raptor Camp

 

AM

The first early start of the camp, with 7 teams heading out to 8 locations. One team went to Mtahleb, where yesterday evening six marsh harriers were recorded going in to roost. Happily, the team was rewarded by seeing all six plus two more leave the roost at dawn, heading out to sea and leaving Malta safely, watched over by our volunteers.

Shots were heard at all locations, but generally quiet morning for migration, the exception being 100 Bee-eaters see in several smaller flocks at Has Saptan.

Bee-eater in flight

A colourful and European Bee-eater in flight. Bee-eaters are gregarious social birds and are often seen feeding in large flocks in the morning and afternoon when they catch flying insects on the wing.

Illegal electronic quail lures were heard in 3 locations. Police were only seen at 1 of the 8 locations visited.

PM

7 teams were out in the countryside this afternoon, this time visiting 10 locations. A small amount of raptor migration was recorded, the highlight being 60+ Marsh Harriers and Honey Buzzards coming into roost at Buskett.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


 Sunday 16th September:

Day 1 of Raptor Camp

 

Participants are introduced to Raptor Camp

Raptor Camp participants are briefed before heading out for their first shift.

PM

Raptor camp kicked off with 7 teams monitoring 10 locations around Malta. It was a smooth start for the teams with a steady migration of birds from Marsh Harriers & Honey Buzzards to large flocks of Bee-eaters heading south. One team at Delimara were lucky enough to spot some dolphins.

Shots were recorded at 6 out of 10 locations, despite it being illegal to hunt after 1pm on Sundays.

Out of 10 locations visited, police were only seen patrolling at 2.

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

  


Friday 14th September: Day 14 of hunting season

2 days until Raptor Camp

 

A Pallid Harrier survives being shot and is brought to BirdLife:

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

 


Monday 10th September: Day 10 of hunting season

6 days until Raptor Camp

 

A member of public explains how a Marsh Harrier fell into her garden:

  

 

Have you witnessed an illegality? Act Now!

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2013, 7:11:04 PM
 
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