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The migration seasons of birds as recorded at Dungeness Bird Observatory in southeast England

By Ian Newton, Anna Ekner, David Walker and Tim H. Sparks


This paper summarises the migration periods of birds at Dungeness Bird Observatory, Kent, southeast\ud England, as calculated from daily counts conducted over an 18-year period. Mean spring migration dates\ud for different species ranged between 6 February (Greenfinch Carduelis chloris) and 26 May (Reed Warbler\ud Acrocephalus scirpaceus), and mean late summer/autumn dates between 11 August (Reed Warbler) and\ud 27 November (Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus). In general, species which arrived early in spring\ud tended to depart late in autumn and vice versa. The overall average spring passage date for all species\ud was 9 April and the overall autumn date 3 October. Long-distance migrants, wintering in sub-Saharan\ud Africa, tended to arrive later and depart earlier, spending a shorter period in Britain than short-distance\ud migrants wintering within Europe. Although the population levels of birds are higher in autumn than in\ud spring, in some species the spring totals at Dungeness far exceeded their autumn totals. The annual cycles\ud of the birds passing through Dungeness, as reflected in their migration dates, were centred not on the\ud longest day, nor on the warmest, but roughly midway between the two

Publisher: British Trust for Ornithology
Year: 2010
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