Where are the migrants?

Without question the spring migration has completely messed up across Europe. I have seen the very same question from birders from various countries from the UK through Germany to Hungary and further east in Europe. Birds should already have arrived are not here while birds should already have left for their northern breeding territories are still here. My friend, László Musicz and me witnessed it this evening.

Sunset at the Ferencmajor fishponds taken by iPhone. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Sunset at the Ferencmajor fishponds taken by iPhone. © Gyorgy Szimuly

We had a nice birding afternoon at the Ferencmajor fishponds, north of my former home town, with continuously improving wether ended by a very nice sunset. At our arrival the first Barn Swallows were seen flying over the pond 10 and 11. About 60 swallows was seen. It was a nice and promising start of our rare joint birding. While monitoring wasn’t our primary target we counted some species.

There was only one pond which was drained but sadly it did not hold waders as it used to be this time of the year. No Common Redshank, no Little Ringed Plover, no Northern Lapwing was seen on the available feeding habitats. Three Pied Avocets flew over the area but they did not stop. On the mud we saw a mixed flock of wagtails and pipits including White Wagtail, Western Yellow Wagtail (at least three subspecies: Motacilla flava flava, M. f. feldegg and M. f. thunbergi), Meadow Pipit and surprisingly some Water Pipits. Latter is a rare winter visitor and very rare on migration in this region. April is the best month to see Red-throated Pipit but we could not spot one today.

Western Yellow Wagtail (Black-headed) is a scarce but more and more regular visitor. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Western Yellow Wagtail (Black-headed) is a scarce but more and more regular visitor. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Western Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed) is a common breeder in low numbers at the fishponds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Western Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed) is a common breeder in low numbers at the fishponds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

However, we had some other interesting sightings. We saw three different, apparently migrating, Hen Harriers flying over the reedbed of the pond 5. All three birds were striking males. Another exciting observation was an adult Common Cuckoo jumping from branch to branch among the Willow Trees. It is a very early arrival of this species (two weeks ahead). It was silent while we were watching it. As a contrast a nice Great Grey Shrike was still present around the fishermen’s house.

Common Cuckoo is normally arriving in the second half of April. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Common Cuckoo is normally arriving in the second half of April. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpipers were feeding on the mudflat of the pond 5. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Green Sandpipers were feeding on the mudflat of the pond 5. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Species I have missed from this afternoon: Eurasian Skylark, Common Redshank, Ruff, Little Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing (breeding pairs), Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Sand Martin (early reed warblers)…

Some of the counted bird species what is submitted to eBird:

Common Goldeneye 76
Black Stork 1 ad
White Stork 1 ad
Pygmy Cormorant 20+

Eurasian Marsh-Harrier 9
Hen Harrier 3 male
White-tailed Eagle 1 ad
Northern Lapwing 28
Pied Avocet 3
Green Sandpiper 11
Common Cuckoo 1 ad
Common Kingfisher 2
Black Woodpecker 1
Great Grey Shrike 1
Northern Raven 1
Barn Swallow 60
Common Chiffchaff 9
Song Thrush 12
Western Yellow Wagtail (Blue-headed) 12
Western Yellow Wagtail (Black-headed) 1
Western Yellow Wagtail (Ashy-headed) 1
White Wagtail 20
Meadow Pipit 3
Water Pipit 8

By the way, birding with one of my best friends is always special and is among the best things I have been loving. 20 years ago we have spent a lot of time at the fishponds what is reduced to short visits in these days. By my moving to the UK it will be even more occasional but hopefully we can manage to meet here every time I visit my homeland.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Where are the migrants?

  1. Hi,

    I am currently putting together a write-up for ‘British Birds’ on BBRC policy on hybrids and intergrades and am now trying to source some photos.

    Might it be possible to include your photo of Black-headed Wagtail in Hungary in April 2013 on the shortlist for possible use? It shows classic intergrade characters and would be an excellent image to use in the piece.

    If so, is it possible to send me a hi-res original image?

    ‘BB’ pay for all images used and also provide a free copy of the journal.

    I hope this might be OK and look forward to hearing from you.

    Andy Stoddart

    • Hi Andy, I have just seen this comment. I’m afraid it is too late now on the one hand and on the other hand my external hard drive was damaged during our move and I couldn’t recover the library yet. 😦 Sorry for this. Thanks for choosing my photo anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s