Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Migration Summary - Spring 2015

  • This was our earliest ever visit to Cape Tenaro and in terms of both the number and diversity of migrants proved to be one of the most enjoyable, with several good arrivals and only a couple of slow days. So an even earlier visit could well be worthwhile in another year.
  • The variety of migrants was in large part due to our visit coinciding with both the departure of winter visitors (Song Thrush, Robin, Black Redstart) and the arrival of summer migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. In addition the variety of summer migrants was excellent with several species we had thought we might miss (as their migration peaks in late April or early May) such as Wood Warbler and Garden Warbler putting in an appearance.
  • The passage of Subalpine Warblers (aka Raspberry Ripple - an 'in' joke) was particularly strong throughout our stay, with notably more birds than a slightly later visit in 2013. The other conspicuous migrant was Hoopoe with good numbers on all days but one and even more to be seen along the roadsides north of the headland.
  • Other early spring migrants were also present in good numbers by Cape Tenaro standards inluding Wryneck, Willow Warber, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. There was also a good movement of Red-rumped Swallow during our first week.
  • Raptor passage was excellent by Cape Tenaro standards and the peak day totals for Marsh Harrier (44), Kestrel (16) and Lesser Kestrel (6) were the highest we have ever recorded.
  • The south-easterly gale that coincided with our arrival produced an unprecedented arrival of Isabelline Wheatear, we recorded at least 12 individuals on the headland, another 7 near Gerolimenas and 3 in the Evrota delta. This compares to just two sightings of single birds on the headland in the last 15 years (and a further 3 birds seeen near Gerolimenas in the same period).
  • We added 5 species to the Cape Tenaro list during our stay. Great White Egret and Hen Harrier were both expected and arguably overdue. Oystercatcher and Golden Plover while not highly anticipated but were clearly contenders for a place on the list though the latter is rare in the Pelopennese (Birds of Greece). Richard's Pipit is a rarity in Greece and so the 3 birds we saw are exceptional.
  • The other Greek rarity recorded was Northern Gannet with two individuals seen on different days. This species may well be under recorded in Greece (see Birds of Greece) although Cape Tenaro as the southernmost point on the greek mainland provides an ideal location for spotting such stray seabirds.

A Raspberry Ripple - Cape Tenaro April 2015


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