Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Day of the Honey Buzzard

Late August and early September mark one of the most incredible and impressive of bird migration spectacles - the passage south of the Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus across the Strait of Gibraltar

Tens of thousands of Honey Buzzards migrate south in the space of a week or so. They come in tight flocks which adds to the air of spectacle. These birds are coming from Scandinavia, western Russia and Western Europe. They are bound for the tropical forests of West Africa.

Their plumage is very variable and we can identify three main plumage types or phases - they are linked to each other by intermediate patterns. The most common phase is the intermediate or barred (above)

This bird is of the light phase

and this one is of the dark morph

In this image we see all three phases together

All the images in today's blog were taken today over the Rock of Gibraltar

Not all were high and some, incredibly, flew low over the town

The passage continues and more species will pass over the next two months...

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