The long-dis­tance flyer

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

On Mon­day af­ter­noon whilst mon­i­tor­ing rap­tor mi­gra­tion at Bus­kett, a ju­ve­nile Honey Buz­zard (Per­nis apivorus) was ob­served car­ry­ing a satel­lite tracker on the back by BirdLife Malta or­nithol­o­gists and bird­watch­ers. Thanks to Dr Pa­trik By­holm from Fin­land, BirdLife has re­ceived the in­ter­est­ing his­tory and ori­gins of this bird.

The bird (Kuċċarda), a young male hatched in south­ern Fin­land ear­lier on this year, had been fit­ted with a tracker on 20 August. This was the only Fin­nish Honey Buz­zard equipped with a tracker this year.

As can be seen from its GPS move­ments (map shows the rap­tor’s move­ments from 1 Oc­to­ber only) this bird has done a lot of night-time mi­gra­tion and this clearly shows how young Honey Buz­zards are also good fly­ers over open sea. There is a pe­cu­liar ten­dency for Fin­nish birds to fly SSW over the Mediter­ranean Sea as it’s not the first bird that took such a route.

The lat­est GPS move­ments of the Honey Buz­zard show it leav­ing the Ital­ian penin­sula on 8 Oc­to­ber (Otranto re­gion) in the morn­ing, where it crossed over the Io­nian Sea flying also overnight.

It reached Malta on 9 Oc­to­ber around mid­day and then set­tled in Gir­genti where it roosted. The fol­low­ing day it stayed around the Bus­kett and Dingli area and it roosted a sec­ond night in Bus­kett.

It was hoped that later on yes­ter­day, it will con­tinue its mi­gra­tion.

The photo of the bird (above) was taken when the tracker had just been de­ployed around noon on 20 August.

Photo and map by Pa­trik By­holm

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