Chiffchaff

Our chiffchaffs will already have started the long journey back to their breeding sites in the reserve. They have overwintered in the warmth of southern Europe or northern Africa and are making their way home in a leisurely way with lots of stops for fuel. The males are the frontrunners and they need to arrive fit enough to find and fight for a territory.

They will begin arriving in March; their song (chiff-chaff, chiff-chaff) is one of the first signs of spring.

Pictures take in the reserve by DKG

Migration changes

Analysis of records kept since 1964 has found that some species of European migratory birds are spending up to 60 days less each year in their sub-Saharan wintering grounds. Over the most recent 27-year period, migratory birds, including the whitethroats commonly seen in our reserve, were found to have increased their time in Europe by an average of 16 days. It has even been suggested that some species may stop flying south for the winter altogether.

Continue reading “Migration changes”

Returning chiffchaffs

Has anybody heard our chiffchaffs yet? This is the time of year when they come back from the Mediterranean and Africa to nest in the park and their unmistakeable call is a welcome sign that spring is here. Message or email us if you have heard them .

All these pictures were taken in the park by DKG.

Swallows, swifts and martins

All summer long, swallows, house martins and swifts have hawked and hunted for winged insects over the park. The swifts have already begun their migration, the swallows will leave next and the house martins will go last of all.

Here is a short video to help you tell the three species apart.

Another world record

Longest butterfly migration

We now know the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) makes the longest migration of any butterfly: 9,000 miles from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle, almost double the journey made by the previous record holder, the famed monarch butterfly.

It can take six successive generations of painted ladies to complete this epic journey, flying up to 1,500ft high and reaching speeds of 30mph. The butterflies that return to Africa at the end of the year are several generations removed from those that set out.

This astonishing and beautiful butterfly, spotted in the park for the first time last year, will begin arriving in Britain this month. Keep a look out for it.

Pictures (CC0) from pixabay.com

Returning chiffchaffs

Has anybody heard our chiffchaffs yet? This is the time of year when they come back from the Mediterranean and Africa to nest here and their unmistakeable call is a welcome sign that spring is here. Message or email us if you have heard them .

All these pictures were taken in the park by DKG.

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