Eastern Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca

On Wednesday 27 September 2017 at around 11:47 Toy Janssen and companions discovered an eagle aquila flying over their migration station Brobbelbies near Maashorst NB. He took some pictures and put one on the Dutch Bird Alerts with the notion a probable Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga. After suggestion it might very well be an Eastern Imperial Eagle A heliaca he corrected it into this species. After almost half-an-hour, the bird returned and flew slowly around at the migration station till about 13:45 when it slowly disappeared to the Southeast. Several birders were able to see the bird in time, but I missed it in just 25 minutes. That week discussion broke loose whether or not it could be a Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti as well. Then on 3 October, it was rediscovered in Overijssel near Cellemuiden by Gijs Leusink at 13:15 hours and late in the afternoon found again east of Hasselt by Jeroen Bredenbeek, warden of several nature areas in Northwest Overijssel. The next day many who missed the bird at the Brobbelbies gathered in the general area at dawn. At around 7:45 the bird flew from a tree and it was seen at several locations around Hasselt and Genemuiden until it was last seen at around 13:10. I was with Nick van der Ham, Bert de Haan en Sander Lagerveld in my car and I had no clue where I was as Nick and Sander were in control and gave me directions. We were just too late between 7:46 and 9:11, but at 8:52 Jacob Molenaar observed panic in the field and a few minutes later Hans Pohlmann reported the bird hunting hares! Just before we arrived at that spot there was a roadblock installed and we had to circumnavigate 12 km before we were at the site. But from 9:11 to 9:30 we could see the bird well and we were very relieved to be there on time.

Map with locations in chronologial order, red is place where the bird first was seen that day, yellow where I saw it for the first time and purple was the last observation that day.

4 October 2017 (9:16), as seen from quite a distance from the Zwolsesteeg, Genemuiden Ovl; © Jan van der Laan.

4 October 2017 (c 9:19), flying just west of Genemuiden Ovl; © Jaap Denee.

4 October 2017 (9:39), Kettingweg, west of Genemuiden Ovl; © Maurits Martens.

4 October 2017 (11:45), near Genemuiden Ovl; © Michel Veldt.
9 October 2017, Rouveen Ovl; © Guus van Duin.

The bird was seen again between 8 and 10 oktober near Zwartsluis OVl before it flew into the Wieden on 10 oktober, a large nature reserve where it can hide forever. Meantime, the identification as Eastern Imperial Eagle was challenged and Nils van Duivendijk found out is was the same individual as a bird supposedly a Spanish Imperial Eagle in January in Italy. But then - already on 4 October - a code was red on a ring on the bird's left leg with the code ..06 and next on 10 October 506 was red by Guus Jenniskens. After a lot of correspondence between Hans Pohlmann and several East European Bird of Prey organisations, it became known that a bird with code A506 was ringed in 2014 as a chick on 18 june 2014 at Devavanya, Hungary!

It was accepted as the second record for the Netherlands. The first record was on 3 april 2005 at Kamperhoek Fl.

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