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Last counts’ result
22 October 2012 - 24 October 2012

The first counts of scavenger birds of the winter/autumn period of 2012 under the scope of the project took place last week. Although the season’s change and the fact that some breeding species were no longer detected, this time of the year also coincided with the end of the autumn migratory period for some species and the beginning of the wintering and juvenile dispersion season for others. This conjugation contributed to the highest number of birds recorded since the beginning of the project’s counts.

Once more, it was at Moura-Mourão-Barrancos where we recorded the highest number of birds. Regarding the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), 8 individuals were observed in Moura-Mourão-Barrancos SPA and 6 in the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley.

As for the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), the most observed species during these counts, we recorded the highest abundance number, with almost 1,100 individuals in Moura-Mourão-Barrancos SPA (value only comparable with the about one thousand individuals observed in November 2010) and about 700 individuals in the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley (being the previous highest record inferior to 500 in May 2011). The coincidence of the dates of the counts, with a peak in the juveniles’ migration/dispersion season, bad weather in the species’ neighboring areas of occurrence and, especially the food availability near the observation areas, contributed for this utmost value.

Besides these species, we also saw 18 Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo), 32 Red Kites (Milvus milvus) and 14 Common Ravens (Corvus corax), 3 Bonelli’s Eagles (Aquila fasciata), 2 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), 2 Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), 1 Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus), 1 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), 1 Black Kite (Milvus migrans), 1 European Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus) and 1 female Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus).

During these counts we also recorded at least 5-7 juveniles and 1 subadult of Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti) in the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley and 1 juvenile in Moura-Mourão-Barrancos SPA.

The team thanks for the companionship and effort of Diogo, Marta, Filipa, Francisca, Tiago, Hevana and Daniel, volunteers that helped us securing the first counts of the 2012 autumn/winter season.


Soon we will release more information on the next autumn/winter counts.
Stay tuned!