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Migration of Pallid Harrier across the central Mediterranean

                                                           might be assumed to be a natural
                                                           stepping stone between Tunisia and
                                                           Sicily: six were counted during
                                                           March-May 2000, four in the
                                                           autumns of 1990-95 and none in the
                                                           autumns of 1996-2000. Nonetheless,
                                                           and following a recurring theme,
                                                           there were record counts from Malta
                                                           in 2001 and 2002, with up to nine
                                                           birds in spring and up to five in
                                                           autumn (Sammut, Montalto &
                                                           Bonavia pers. comm.).

                                                           Migration in the Middle East
                                                           In Israel, the maximum spring count
                                                           at Eilat, southern Israel, was 113 in
                                                           1985 (Shirihai & Christie 1992),
                                                           although the peak day count was 38
                                                           on 3rd April 1983 (28 males, 10
                                                           females). Typically, 2CY birds pass in
                                                           the second half of April, later than
                                                           adults. In fact, most of the birds
                                                           migrating through Israel in spring are
                                                           adults (Shirihai & Christie 1992); for
                                                           example, in spring 1994, 57 were
                                                           counted, all of which were adults
                                                           (Yosef 1996). The species is scarcer in
                                                          autumn at Eilat, but there are high
              Fig. 7. Spring migration flyways of Pallid Harriers Circus macrourus
              across the central Mediterranean.The main flyways are in red, the  counts farther north, from the
               thicker lines indicating the main routes. Secondary flyways are  Northern Valleys/Kfar  Qassem
               marked in blue. Most of the birds leave Africa from northern   surveys (see Alon et al. 2004), prob-
              Tunisia (note the significance of Cap Bon (1)), pass over the Strait   ably the highest for the Western
              of Messina (2) and continue north and east from there (note the
               importance of Capo d’Otranto (3)). Smaller numbers of Pallid   Palearctic: a mean of 45 per year were
               Harriers cross the Adriatic Sea farther north along the Italian   recorded from 1990 to 1999,
              coast, most of them from Mt Conero (4); while a few continue   including an exceptional 129 in 1994
              farther north still, or even use a route along the Tyrrhenian Sea.  (Alon et al. 2004). The 1994 record
                                                          stood until autumn 2003, when fully
            eastern Europe (Bortoli 1967). Of these, three  137 individuals were counted (Y. Perlman pers.
            were recovered in Sicily, as follows (ringing  comm.).
            date/recovery date/recovery location): (i) adult,  Significant numbers have also been recorded
            8th April 1955/12th April 1955/Catania, south-  in Jordan; for example, 15 were observed on
            east Sicily; (ii) 8th April 1955/8th November  29th-30th September 1994 at Ghadir Burqu’
            1957/Bagheria, northwest Sicily; and (iii) 7th  (Andrews 1996), and 164 were logged from
            April 1963/31st March 1967/Catania (Iapichino  24th September to 20th October at the same site
            & Massa 1989). The other four recovered in  in 1998 (Shirihai et al. 2000). In the Red Sea, at
            Italy were at the Strait of Messina, on the Cal-  the Bab el Mandab, 11 birds (three males) were
            abrian side, during spring migration (Bendini  recorded in autumn 1985 and 67 (15 males) in
            1983). The numbers ringed at Cap Bon suggest  1987 (Welch & Welch 1988). At Borçka/Arhavi,
            that regular passage is probably much greater  northeast Pontics, Turkey, 133 were counted in
            than limited observational data show, perhaps  autumn 1976 (Andrews et al. 1977) but only 11
            similar to that at Messina; it may also mean that  in spring 1994 (Shirihai et al. 2000), while at
            the wintering population in Tunisia is greater  Belen Pass, southern Turkey, four were counted
            then presently realised.               in autumn 1976 (Sutherland & Brooks 1981).
               There are few records from Malta, which  At the Bosporus, where high counts would

            244                                               British Birds 97 • May 2004 • 238-246
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