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        2008 Migration Studies

As a continuing part of our honey buzzard project, we have fitted a Solar PTT100 satellite transmitter to one young honey buzzards this year from a nest on private land in the North of Scotland. This is a partnership funded by Forestry Commission and the Highland Foundation for Wildlife.  We are most grateful to the owner of the forest for his great interest in the honey buzzards, but we wish to keep the locality confidential so the starting locality for tracking purposes will be my office. 

The nest contained two chicks and on Sunday 27th July, Bob Moncrieff climbed to the nest and lowered them in a bag to the ground. Moira Hickey and I measured, weighed and ringed them, and fitted the transmitter to the larger chick, before they were returned to the nest. Both chicks had full crops and were in excellent condition, while the nest held plenty of full wasp comb and grubs.

The larger chick, ringed number GF53494, weighed 1092 grams with a wing of 297mm; while the smaller chick GF53493, weighed 867 grams with a wing of 238 mm.

The radio number is 21250 and is already sending out signals from the nest.

The two chicks should start their long hazardous migrations in August and the table below will give the information for 21250. Let's hope she has a successful migration to  sub-Saharan Africa, and that the Solar powered transmitter continues to work and provide data over a much longer time.


  Migration Journey

         BIRD 21250



25th August The first signal for many days came in over night. The day's flight in sunny conditions had charged the solar battery and she had flown over 50 miles east of my office in Dunphail, near Forres to a location near Troup Head, between Banff and Peterhead. She roosted for the night in a riverine woodland called Tore of Troup, about 3 miles from the coast at Pennan. An interesting first flight and surprising she has travelled in that direction.
27th August Overnight near New Aberdour. More  details when I get home from Fair Isle.
  From this point, daily news is in reverse order to reduce scrolling - with latest first
3rd October At 11.30am, she was on the western flanks of the Anti-Atlas mountains, heading for Imzilene; 60 kilometres SE of Agadir, Morocco
30/9 - 1/10/08

Roosting site night of 1st/2nd October


Honey Buzzard migration route 29th September - 1st October

1st October. The young honey buzzard made great time today and at dusk was roosting in sparsely wooded mountains just north of Amizmiz, about 50 kilometres south of Marrakesh. (Very close to Morven's roost in September). The High Atlas mountains were just to the SE and it looks as though she will skirt round the western side to head south.
30th September Crossed the straights to Africa today, probably at the western side near Tarifa, and then out over the sea and blown west of Moroccan coast. At 12.25am was 40 kilometres west of the Moroccan coast and four hours later had crossed the coast near Kenitra, just north of Rabat. Continued migrating south into the foothills and at 6.40pm was roosting in a wooded hill near Ain Guernach.
28th - 29th September Still in same area - poor weather for migration
27th Sept She settled to roost in a woods near Casa Huerta de los Ojos, 7 kilometres south of Jaen, after heading more to the SW.

The migration from Scotland to Spain up to 26th September

26th September She carried on flying slowly south and by early afternoon was near Villarrobledo, to the east of Madrid.
25th September She roosted overnight on  a scrubby hillside near Olmeda del Rey, Castilla la Mancha
24th September The honey buzzard crossed the Pyrenees yesterday and roosted last night 8 kilometres south of Molina de Aragon on a scrubby hillside; forecast for today is bright sun, clear skies and a light north wind - ideal for migrating honey buzzards.
23rd Sep She had a good day's migration through France; at 11.44am she was just offshore of the French coast to the west of Bordeaux, and at 3.45pm was just north of Soustons, and she then turned towards the Pyrenees, and at 7pm was in forests north of Auteville-Saint-Martin-Bideren, on the north side of the mountains. Probably by now she will be travelling south with other honey buzzards.
22nd Sept The young honey buzzard crossed the English Channel on 21st, and roosted that night in a small wood just NW of Goron, to the NE of Fougeres, at the base of the Cherbourg Peninsula. 
20th Sept At 6pm she was half a mile north of Polegate bypass in Sussex, possibly in Abbot Wood. This is about 7 miles north of the English Channel at Beachy Head. Forecast for tomorrow is fog, then sunny, with light east wind. Good conditions for flying to France.
19th Sept
19th Sept Signals during the night and a very accurate one at 07.39am this morning were from close to a wood (see above picture) about a mile east of Wolston and about 3 miles SSE of the Coventry eastern bypass.  With good weather she should start migrating south more strongly.

Later in day more signals came in. She was still in the main wood (map above) at  8.12am and later in the afternoon, we received three different positions but they were all rather poor in accuracy - 11am near Burford, 12am south of Chipping Norton and 1pm near Clackton on Sea, but my hunch is that she had flown down over Oxfordhire in the excellent weather, and we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find which way she went.

18/19th Sept

roost site

nr Coventry

19th Sept I was told that it was a lovely sunny day yesterday around Manchester, and this resulted in the honey buzzard migrating south to the Coventry area and also the transmitter being charged by the sun and a series of good overnight fixes coming in. This bird is fitted with the old style - non GPS transmitter, so the accuracy is less and there are no readings for speed, direction or altitude. Two people from the Bolton area emailed in about the bird's position on the 17th/18th, and thanks to Danijela Bogdanovic, who checked her local area and sent the photo below of Outwood Country Park, part of a Millenium Wood project, which seems the most likely place for the honey buzzard to have roosted. The trees in the background could certainly have provided a roost site for a migrant.

17th Sept One position came in for 8pm this evening, about 8 miles NW of the centre of Manchester, and between Bury and Bolton. There's been a very big influx of Scandinavian migrant honey buzzards into the UK, wonder if she will join up with any of them and continue her migration in company.
14th Sept Transmitter had charged up with the good weather over the weekend, and last night the young honey buzzard roosted in small deciduous woods between Nook and Lupton beside the A65, SE of Junction 36 on the M6 Motorway in Lancashire; 7 miles SSE of Kendall. Slowly moving south through the country. 
7th Sept at 7pm, last evening, she was 3/4 mile SSW of Palnackie, Kirkcudbright; about 5 miles SW of Castle Douglas
6th Sept Latest information at 1pm; she was in or over woodland about one mile south of the loch east of Caldercruix, east of Airdrie.
3rd Sept Honey buzzard was  low down in woods on the north slope of Morrone at 1pm today, still near Braemar.
30th August At 7am this morning, she was roosting in woods on the hill of Morrone just SW of Braemar in upper Deeside.
28th August At 6pm close to Milltimber, possibly woods to south of the River Dee, just west of Aberdeen.

Hope you found this interesting - please tell your friends about this website


Tony Cross and colleagues have satellite tagged two adult honey buzzards this summer in Wales and they have started

their migrations - check out their website at  http://www.ecologymatters.co.uk/honey_buzzard.shtml






















































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