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Eleanora's falcons, Spain

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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 12:59   #1
fdokykcu
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Eleanora's falcons, Spain

Eleonora's falcons have arrive for a month stay near home and I hope this year -with better photographs- I could learn more on their plumages, more than making dark morphs from clear ones, and expecting not to confuse the laters with hobbies

So most of my questions have to do with sex and age of these individuals, and if it is possible with the characters used for clinching these ID's

Photo 1,2 same bird, dark morph ¿male? seems to have yellow cere, but light is not good
Then some pale morphs
Photo 3, another bird,
Photo 4, two more different birds ¿both adult males?
Photo 5, another male

The following photos (next post) are of the next day in a nearby roost, so maybe there are some repeated falcons.

Photos 6,7, same bird, I'd said adult female pale morph (but maybe 2cy?)
Photo 8, other adult bird

So, no juvenile or 2cy so far?

All from Cuenca, Central Spain, from these past two days. I expect no to have dropped any unsuspected hobby in the photos!
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Last edited by fdokykcu : Friday 12th June 2015 at 13:01.
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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 13:00   #2
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Photos 6,7 & 8
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Old Friday 12th June 2015, 17:07   #3
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I agree on all, right bird in image 4 difficult to sex, no juveniles until october, they did not even start breeding, and no second calendar year bird
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Old Saturday 13th June 2015, 02:40   #4
phil baber
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All Eleonora's AFAIC. But time to look at the Forsman's for further detailed info!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Raptors-Euro.../dp/0713688211
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Old Saturday 13th June 2015, 09:01   #5
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What's the history of birds appearing around Cuenca? I recall records in previous years, but are they now regular? How easy are they to see and how many birds are involved?
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Old Saturday 13th June 2015, 20:02   #6
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Thanks to everyone again!

Regarding John question, from my experience Eleonora's are quite regular around Cuenca, and I expect the same behaviour in similar areas of mideastern Spain: they seem to select large stands of Pinus pinaster in plain terrain. Reports from Soria, other areas of Cuenca province, even Segovia share this particular point. It seems they come to hunt for big beetles that flight in this season, prior to mating at the Mediterranean's coast &islands. At home they stay for a month or so, arriving the first days of June.

How many involved? People at SEO Soria say there are some tens in their area, around Cuenca city I expect a similar figures (but there are at least another two areas where they are seen in theprovince, in an area of maybe 10.000 has were they can wander around. My home spot holds 10/15. National total breeding numbers says 800 pairs, and we are talking of certainly more than 100.000 Has of habitats with the characteristics told above in MidEastern Spain

Easy to see? At their resting spots nearly sure, if not disturbed, while hunting at dusk the wander around larger area which may change day to day and is more difficult to find the sweet spot. The difficult thing is to pick their resting areas in such large area... Last year I saw them nearly all the days I looked for them

Yes Phil, I'm already with it. Another valuable resource is this link
http://birdingfrontiers.com/2012/09/...-or-difficult/.
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Last edited by fdokykcu : Saturday 13th June 2015 at 20:47. Reason: More precise description
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Old Sunday 14th June 2015, 04:17   #7
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Fernando,

Of course. Lovely photos of an amazing bird. Some great ID resources for all.
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Old Sunday 14th June 2015, 08:15   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdokykcu View Post
Thanks to everyone again!

Regarding John question, from my experience Eleonora's are quite regular around Cuenca, and I expect the same behaviour in similar areas of mideastern Spain: they seem to select large stands of Pinus pinaster in plain terrain. Reports from Soria, other areas of Cuenca province, even Segovia share this particular point. It seems they come to hunt for big beetles that flight in this season, prior to mating at the Mediterranean's coast &islands. At home they stay for a month or so, arriving the first days of June.

How many involved? People at SEO Soria say there are some tens in their area, around Cuenca city I expect a similar figures (but there are at least another two areas where they are seen in theprovince, in an area of maybe 10.000 has were they can wander around. My home spot holds 10/15. National total breeding numbers says 800 pairs, and we are talking of certainly more than 100.000 Has of habitats with the characteristics told above in MidEastern Spain

Easy to see? At their resting spots nearly sure, if not disturbed, while hunting at dusk the wander around larger area which may change day to day and is more difficult to find the sweet spot. The difficult thing is to pick their resting areas in such large area... Last year I saw them nearly all the days I looked for them

Yes Phil, I'm already with it. Another valuable resource is this link
http://birdingfrontiers.com/2012/09/...-or-difficult/.
Thanks for this. Most interesting that they're so regular at an inland site whereas elsewhere they're pretty much exclusively coastal. Is there some geographical feature that concentrates migrants in the area? Strange that small groups are habitually in this area, but not where you'd expect them around Tarifa (where they occur but are very scarce).
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Old Sunday 14th June 2015, 08:51   #9
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Inland Eleonora's are common sight in Greece and Turkey. I guess it's only about prey (large insects) availability at that time of the year.
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Old Monday 15th June 2015, 08:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cantelo View Post
Thanks for this. Most interesting that they're so regular at an inland site whereas elsewhere they're pretty much exclusively coastal. Is there some geographical feature that concentrates migrants in the area? Strange that small groups are habitually in this area, but not where you'd expect them around Tarifa (where they occur but are very scarce).
In the following paper (in Spanish, but the map in page 4 is easy to understand, also abstract in English)

http://cibio.ua.es/Cuadernos/39/39-1.pdf

you can find that at least in post-nuptial migration Eleonora's falcons cross over the Mediterranean in a wide front, not through Gibraltar, (as observed from 17 radiotracked falcons marked in breeding grounds at Balearic & Columbretes islands). That may explain their scarceness in that area (assuming the return paths are the same..)

I've drawn an sketch just for those who are less familiar with Spanish geography. In green the main extensions of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) forest, in yellow the places were Eleonora's are reported consistently. The straight lines show the main direction of migratory movement as detected by radiotracking (I wasn't able to put arrows!) The blue lasso encompass these areas

Take also into account that some huge extensions of maritime pine forest are in quite rugged terrain (i.e. Cazorla/Segura in the southern side of the lasso) this seems not to be a preferred place (there are no reports of sightings)

I think as Tom that this distribution prior to mating is a question of availability food resources. In winter at Madagascar they also seems to use mostly forest habitats
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Old Monday 15th June 2015, 09:32   #11
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That's both extremely interesting and very kind of you Fernando. Very much appreciated.
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Old Monday 15th June 2015, 12:24   #12
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In France they also disperse inland - pre-breeding. I don't know the exact site but Cendras comes up every year with up to 30 birds - this is about 80km inland.

Odd birds make it into the Pyrenees in the early part of summer - Pau, Puydarieux for a couple.

As stated above the main diet outside of breeding is insect based.
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Old Thursday 18th June 2015, 06:57   #13
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I guess this other is a 2cy, based on the barred pattern of the upper side of the tail

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Originally Posted by tconzemi View Post
I agree on all, right bird in image 4 difficult to sex, no juveniles until october, they did not even start breeding, and no second calendar year bird
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Old Thursday 18th June 2015, 07:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdokykcu View Post
I guess this other is a 2cy, based on the barred pattern of the upper side of the tail
No, barring is only on inner vane and central tail feathers look plain, in second calendar year all tail feathers are completely barred and thus barring visible from above and below even on closed tail.
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Old Thursday 18th June 2015, 09:27   #15
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Thanks Tom... still a lot to learn!

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No, barring is only on inner vane and central tail feathers look plain, in second calendar year all tail feathers are completely barred and thus barring visible from above and below even on closed tail.
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