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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Magic of Migration

The weather has been lovely in the South of England for the past week. I have to say Spring and Autumn whene the weather is good have to be my favourite time of year. You can stick your REALLY hot summers.

It's that time of year when the great magic that is migration takes place. As I sit and type some small bird is wending its weary way to the UK. Chiffchaffs have already started arriving. The Barn Swallow comes all the way from South Africa! What is perhaps more amazing is that each Autumn the adults depart first, leaving junior to find his way unaided from here to South Africa. Just think about that feat for a moment!

I read recently that though we know that House Martins winter in Africa we don't know exactly where! Seems hard to believe really. Still House Martins will soon be back above our Houses.

Of course we get the hidden migrants. Every Autumn we get whole hosts of birds we don't recognise. Mallards arrive from Eastern Europe, and joining the winter Thrushes and finches we get Blackbirds and Chaffinches swelling our resident population. We don't necessarily notice their arrival but I'm sure they are missed at home.

I say necessarily since if you are on the Norfolk coast in Autumn you are aware of the volume of small birds in coastal bushes.

So the next time something sits on your seed feeder or is snaffling currants or meal worms remember, it may be a little bit tired!!

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