After a short break for summer, we returned to Antikythira mid-August for the autumn 2021 ringing season and the long anticipated but always exciting Raptor Migration Counts.
Last year’s COVID-related restrictions and bans were not in place again this year, allowing our small but extremely dedicated team to go back to the island. All team-members, together with a few selected and (admittedly) very lucky volunteers, took part in the bird ringing thrill but also had to share the many duties and tasks around the Observatory, especially during the days when weather conditions or strong winds kept nets closed and visibility poor.
Regarding totals and numbers of ringed birds, the general feeling was that it was a poor season overall but with interesting species. The most abundant were without a doubt the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) and the Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus). As for the highlights of the season, the quite rare Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides) was definitely a treat, with the two Common Rosefinches (Carpodacus erythrinus) being a pleasant surprise.
On a more alarming note, it was quite striking that, once more, we had very few Turtle Doves.
As far as the raptors’ counts are concerned, it was an average year but with two new records: a new record of Black Kites (229) and a record number of six (!) Egyptian Vultures.
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