As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 18 May 2018

Twitter appeal leads to grim discovery of rare raptor

Bird Notes columnist Julian Hughes of RSPB Conwy reveals what birds have been spotted in the past week

Andrew ForgraveRural Affairs Editor
18:14, 7 MAY 2018

I’ve been in Cyprus for the last week, and one of the highlights is seeing the Montagu’s Harriers, freshly arrived from their winter quarters south of the Sahara Desert.

These long-winged, elegant raptors sweep over the grasslands hunting for large insects and small rodents.

But even the afternoons in the eastern Mediterranean can be a bit much for a top predator; I came across a female sitting beneath the shade of a tree, and she was not for moving.

Social media was used to solve a mystery for researchers at the weekend, when the satellite transmitter attached to a Montagu’s Harrier showed it has stalled around some buildings in Algeria.

James, as he was named, was given the transmitter when he was caught near his nest in south west England last July. He subsequently spent the winter in northern Mali.

An appeal for help on Twitter brought a response from ornithologists in Algeria, who travelled to the area and found James’s body with the transmitter still working.

Without being able to trigger an immediate ground search, we would probably never really have known what happened to him.

Several other tagged Monties have yet to return to Britain, being scattered between Spain and West Africa.

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