Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mass Migration

Think of mass migration and the movement of a million Wildebeest across the Serengeti will probably come to mind. However, an equally impressive migration of around 600,000 birds has been taking place into the UK, and particularly over Durham, during the last few days.  

Wildebeest in East Africa - probably the best known mass migration event (Photo: Steve Willis)
Having said that, it probably passed most people by – largely because it is occurring at night, and a few hundred feet above our heads. Over the last couple of foggy nights there has been a large migration of Redwings, a thrush species, from their breeding grounds in the Arctic to the UK . They leave the Arctic in autumn to spend their winter in warmer climates. The huge migration over Durham during the last couple of evenings has probably been prompted by the very cold arctic weather that is currently heading our way from the north. These birds will have crossed the North Sea after leaving mainland Europe and arrived on a broad front along the east coast  of the UK.

If you can find a quiet area outside, away from traffic, and listen for 5-10 minutes one evening, you will have a good chance of hearing their characteristic, thin ‘tseep’ call as they pass overhead.

This amazing natural phenomenon happens every year at about this time but goes largely undetected.


From now onwards it is worth looking out for Redwing (a small thrush with a white eye-stripe and an orange-red patch under it’s wing - see above) foraging on the ground under trees in Great and Little High Wood and through the Botanical Gardens.

No comments:

Post a Comment