Nocturnal migration experiences in a city

Many birds migrate during the night so do the shorebirds. Hearing the calls of passing by birds over a wetland is an everyday story but seeing them overflying is really a rare experience. Since I moved to Milton Keynes I have heard/seen overflying waders in complete darkness in the middle of the city. First I heard a Eurasian Stone-curlew over our Conniburrow home on 18 September 2012. On 21 March 2013 a Eurasian Oystercatcher called over the Stephenson House in Bletchley. On 22 April 2013 two different Common Sandpipers were calling over the Saxon Street at the west side of the CMK Shopping Centre.

Last night, at 23:25 I could even see and count the overflying shorebirds at the exact same place where the Common Sandpipers were calling. First I noticed their calls then, as the street lights reflected on the their belly and underwings, I could see them as well. By the shape, their call and the characteristic of the underwing pattern, I identified them Bar-tailed Godwits. 12 birds flew together towards the northern direction. The local birders would probably just flick (and laugh) on this news. I was really shocked to see them flying that low in the middle of a big city.


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