Friday, 20 February 2015

Steppe Eagles, Batumi

Juvenile passing Station two - 3 Oct. 268 recorded with the majority in October.

Worn primaries on this bird.

Nice evenly broad buff-white trailing edge and greater covert bar typical of juvenile.

The white central underwing bar is completely missing on this individual. I saw quite a few Steppe's lacking this central bar at Batumi (described as rare or uncommon in books)

Very powerful bill, long neck and hunched position clearly visible

Juvenile passing Station one. A double gun shot shortly followed this birds passage but the outcome was unknown.

Juvenile, a beautiful eagle which always got you leaping from your chair no matter how many had passed during the day. 4 Oct

The long yellow gape line extending to the rear of the eye.

A different juvenile to the above bird.

Juvenile with patchy central underwing bar. Broad even trailing edge to wing and fresh primaries. Presumably a gap in the right side of the tail. 4 Oct

2nd cy. Outer five primaries are worn juvenile feathers and 1-2 new secondaries (protruding).

Juvenile - 4 Oct

I'm presuming 2nd cy based on primary moult - outer four primaries appear juvenile. 4 Sept

Juvenile. The long narrow wings and tail typical of juvenile are apparent here.

With Steppe Buzzards

Juvenile - 6 Oct

A juvenile with less well marked central underwing bar.

Juvenile - 12 Oct

Juvenile. Really stunning from above especially against a hillside.

2nd cy - 2 Oct

2nd cy

Juvenile digi-scoped at Station two, 6 Oct. Taken with the Swarovski ATX 85, TLS APO adapter and a basic Lumix G5. I really miss the auto focus and often end up with more crap than good especially on more distant subjects where scope focusing is critical.

2nd cy

Juvenile Steppe Eagle above and a Juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle below.

Uneven trailing edge to left wing but buff line still very broad indicating juvenile. Also all the primaries appear fresh and of the same age. Poor central underwing bar.

Immature - 22 Sept

Juvenile - 8 Oct. A very pale individual vaguely resembling a juvenile Imperial Eagle.

Juvenile - 11 Oct


Adult type - 12 Oct. The adult Steppe Eagles were often tricky to identify because their underwings often appeared black and featureless due to the lack of bright light reflecting on to them. Most birds at Batumi are flying over dense forest/vegetation unlike the beautifully lit birds photographed over deserts in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Black carpal with no white comma's and a very ample hand. The diagnostic black trailing edge to wing can be really difficult to see.

Dark trailing edge visible here. Long broad hand and fairly long tail and neck.

Another adult type - 12 Oct.

A darker adult type - 12 Oct

Adult type - 12 Oct. A good day for Steppe Eagles at Station two.

Adult type - 14 Oct.

Hint of a pale outside comma.

2nd cy - 15 Oct

Adult type


Near adult  - 16 Oct

Ochre nape patch and hunch-back.

Adult type - 16 Oct. Sandy nape patch.