P. Jones

Keeping an eye on migration

Wherever you may live in our region, this amazing spectacle of migration can be lurking in your garden, coastal margins, local woodlands and even in urban parks

PETER JONES

The great autumn migration continues with evermore urgency as both large and small birds hurry their departure from the summer comforts of Europe to the vast wintering grounds of Africa.

People will be looking up to the sky hoping to witness a mass of large soaring birds as they wheel overhead and drift towards the area surrounding Tarifa. And yet, wherever you may live in our region, this amazing spectacle of migration can be lurking in your garden, coastal margins, local woodlands and even in urban parks as our smaller summer residents follow long established flyways south.

At this time of year it is worth exploring any shrub-covered hillside or river valleys, even pay attention to any cover in a garden and urban park. Many small warblers, flycatchers and even the elusive whinchat might be found and sometimes in good numbers. Even those birds we think of as 'our summer birds' such as the bee-eater, will be appearing with flocks from northern populations passing through, as most of our breeding summer residents will have departed long before these northern populations arrive.

    This month we will see northern populations of crag martin, joined by some of our resident birds from higher altitudes, cruising the skies above the tall buildings of our coastal towns and villages.

    White wagtails and black redstarts will be present as urban birds as they arrive for the winter. Early song thrushes will also appear.

    And yet, this is a period of migration when we can get large numbers of the beautiful common redstart and pied flycatcher feeding in the area before continuing their long journey to their wintering quarters in Africa; two of my favourite birds!