Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Migration Summary

It's hard to generalise from a mere 13 days of observations and as ever when observing migration on a headland or island much of what happens is dependent on the weather. This was our earliest visit to Cape Tenaro so we also can't draw direct comparisons to counts and sightings in other years. A few general thoughts:

  • It was very windy! This produced a a couple of excellent rarities but the lack of northerly or north-westerly winds and no significant rain meant there were no big 'falls'. The luck of the draw....
  • The biggest mixed fall was probably on the day we arrived (28th March) and as we didn't start birding until after 14.00hrs coverage was incomplete. It did show however that March birding at the Cape has the potential to be excellent.
  • There were small arrivals, and no substantial ones, on most days during our stay. Interestingly these were generally limited to only a few species, with other species (that were already on migration) not appearing at the same time. We've seen this happen before but not as often.
  • The winds and small numbers of migrants on the move meant that early morning observations at the lighthouse of birds coming in off the sea were disappointing. This can be very rewarding.
  • A number of migrant species appeared early, indeed we had not really expected to see Bee-eater, Wood Warbler or Garden Warbler. They may well have been helped by the strong south to south-east winds.
  • There was a steady passage of raptors, mostly Kestrels and Marsh Harriers throughout our stay. Later in the spring there is generally a better diversity over a two week period.
  • Birding this early in the season clearly has lots of potential and after the long north European winter was a delight. We will be back!

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