Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Migration in the marshes

Following on the marismas theme of the last two posts, today I add more photographs from last Sunday (14th March) illustrating active migration. Many of the migrants are waders, moving through or getting ready to fly north. Ruffs were prominent, some males coming into spring colour.

Ruffs (above with Black-winged Stilt) migrating and wintering in the area are derived from western European and Scandinavian breeding populations

Also moving are large numbers of Redshank (above and below). These are largely from western European breeding populations. Those from Scandinavia leap-frog these and winter further south, reaching West Africa. These are now coming back along the Atlantic coast.


Wood Sandpipers (above and below) are also migrating north. These are from Scottish and Scandinavian breeding populations that have wintered in West Africa.

Waders are constantly alert while feeding. The Wood Sandpiper (above) kept a watchful eye on a Marsh Harrier (below):

Although Grey Herons (above) breed locally many now are moving north towards north-western Europe from West African wintering grounds in Senegal, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

Other migrants are also exploiting the insect abundance of the marismas. Subalpine Warblers (above and below) are coming in every day from sub-Saharan wintering grounds. These birds will go no further than France and most are Iberian.

The last of the wintering Water Pipits (below) are also heading north:

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