Wednesday, November 20, 2013
MASHKULLORA’S UNFORTUNATE JOURNEY
Ever since humans noticed the comings and goings of birds through the seasons, we’ve wanted to know more. We have always dreamed of following birds on their often very distant travels to other continents. This was our case with the first Egyptian vulture juvenile "Mashkullora” that was tagged this summer in Albania. Unfortunately the journey didn’t go well for our bird which drew in Peloponnese on its way to wintering territories.
Mashkullora was one of the 10 birds tagged this year in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece and Albania on the frame of the project "The Return of Neophron” managed by the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB). Mashkullora, has been tagged by PPNEA thanks to the support of BSPB and Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS).
The journey started on 13 September in Gjirokastra district in south Albania, after some exercises all day, the bird on 14 September winged over Delivine and left Albania toward Greece. It flew approximately 250 km along the littoral side of the northern Greece and stopped to overnight nearby the City of Thermo in central Greece. The next day the trip continued toward Athens by crossing over the Atica region in flight distance of over 200 km. On 16 September the day was spent on prowling around Athens, may be feeding or may be the yang vulture was curious to learn ancient history. On 17 September starting from Glyfada (which is home to many of Greece's millionaires, ministers and celebrities) at the foot of the Hymettus mountain Mashkullora is back on it track toward Peloponnese and overnight nearby the town of Ermioni. The following day the bird crossed over the Argolic gulf and stopped nearby the village of Skoutari (in classical antiquity Asine). On 20 September the day was passed around Laconian lands preparing for the great jump from Europe to Africa. Early in the morning on 21 September started the crossover of the Mediterranean Sea, all the day and night on that date was spent struggling to go forward, however the progress was limited and the bird had made only 130 km. The next day on 22 September 2013, at 7:00 a clock AM, after more than a thousand kilometers and ten days, Mashkullora perished in the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
What might have happened there with our unfortunate bird we will never know? However, now we do know what would be one of many roots of choice for Egyptian Vultures migrating to Africa. We start to understand stopover behavior and strategies of these birds, including movements on the land during their stay, activity phases during the day/night, duration of stay, etc.
The journey of Mashkullora has bitterly ended, but next summer PPNEA bird monitoring team will be again over the cliffs to monitor and safeguard the Egyptian Vultures.
In Memoriam of Mashkullora.
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