BLOG 2022

05.09.22 – All our GPS-GSM deployed in Malta and Tunisia on Yelkouan shearwaters have now stopped transmitting signal – roughly around the same period as for our tracking of Croatian yelkouans last year. Fixed to the bird feathers with water-resistant tape, the transmitters are expected to come off after a few weeks, in order to make the study minimally intrusive for a species classified as Vulnerable by IUCN (2018). It is now time to draw some preliminary conclusions at this stage, based on two seasons of tracking.

03.08.22 – Over two weeks ago, we lost the signal of the father of the maltese family 2 (MM2) right after he reached Istanbul. We suspected, based on our 2021 study that it had immediately entered the Black Sea, where we lost its signal, away from the coast (…and from GSM antennas!). This morning MM2 flew close enough to Sinop (northern Turkey) for us to capt its signal … and retrieve its whole track since he crossed the Bosphorus : its route covered Bulgaria, Crimea Sevastopol before a descent to the southern Black Sea.

22.07.22 – We now have some three weeks of data (in certain cases less, since we equipped our last ‘Tunisian’ birds just a few days ago in Zembretta). A few preliminary remarks impose themselves to the alert viewer of our maps:
•  all Maltese birds veer eastwards, two of them following an early visit to Djerba (Tunisia) and Tripoli (Libya) areas respectively;
•  two Maltese adults (both males) reached the Black Sea where we lost their signals as soon as they were a few miles north of the Bosphorus; 
•  Maltese juveniles are adventurous, exploring quite different areas including (for the first time in our study) the coastal waters of northern Egypt where one of them (MJ10) was found unfortunately dead on the shore of the Nile delta last week; two juveniles (MJ2 and MJ9) are now moving up north along the Anatolian shore, following a very similar route for the past few days.
•  Tunisian birds for their part show a tendency to fly directly eastward, where we quickly lose their track (for the time being) except for TJ5 that we followed as far as Antalya Bay. We are keen to see if some signals will be captured later to the west of Bizerte, or never in that direction.

20.07.22Yelkouan season 2 is on!
Last year we discovered that Yelkouan Shearwaters nesting in Croatia (northern Adriatic) were able to fly as far as the northeast of the Black Sea, obvioulsy driven there by the rich spawning grounds of anchovies.

This year we shifted our operation further south with two nesting sites, one in northern Malta, the other in Zembra Archipelago north of Tunis, where we equipped juveniles and parents (when possible) with light GPS-GSM trackers. We are pleased to share with you the first live maps of their travels; they will allow you to follow in quasi real time the progress of our fellows.

Our main questions for this year are focused on the juveniles: Will they all take the same northeastern direction as last year? Are they flying solo? Or accompanied by their parents? We already have some elements of answer with the trajectories of ‘our’ family 1 from Malta: the juvenile (MJ1), its father (MM1) and mother (MF1) each took a radically different direction once away from the nest. The father already crossed the Bosphorus and is now enjoying the open Black Sea, away from GSM coverage.