A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Visible Migration

Yesterday was one of those days that being in the right place at the right time (accidentally) was a good place to be, i.e. my balcony.

Visible migration is perhaps best defined as the 'observation of bird migration during daylight hours'

First off about 100+ bee-eaters flew south over the house, very low, quick, chattering and very visible.

Throughout the day singles of booted eagles (pic, left) would soar over the house and on one occasion there were 5 in a thermal looking to gain height. One of those was not a booted eagle but I was not able to identify it. The conditions were ideal for large birds that need to conserve energy when migrating. Almost no wind, very hot and sultry with large thermals rising off the rocks allows these birds to gain height easily, maybe 1000's of feet where they can glide to the next island before repeating the process again. Island hopping! In all 20+ spotted.

Two flocks of alpine swifts came over with their piping calls identifying them many hundreds of feet up. 1000+ in each group.

The most interesting bird was an eleanora's falcon, quite low and visible but rapidly gaining height behind the house over the mountain to the south of us. Probably no accident just after the alpine swifts. This bird breeds very late in the year, in August, to take advantage of the migrating flocks of small birds that fill the skies from time to time. This is its food source for the young birds. It will return to Madagasgar with the last of the migrants in October.

I suspect I wont be so lucky today.


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