Spring migration 2015 | Lifewatch regional portal

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Spring migration 2015

In the course of March and April 2015, the Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Western Marsh Harriers started their spring migration and returned to their breeding grounds in Flanders. Similar to the autumn migration, some birds traveled over land, while others preferred to follow the coastlines. By March 10th, a little earlier than last year's spring migration, the first Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived at their breeding grounds in Flanders; about 1 month later, by April 11th, the first Western Marsh Harriers arrived. By the end of April all tagged birds were back in Flanders.

By clicking on the map on the right, you are redirected to an interactive map displaying the spring migration of 2015 of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Below you can read some peculiar travel stories.



I'm never going back to Marrakech...

This year, Jozef (610), a male Western Marsh Harrier, who went to the almost exact same wintering spot as last year (southern border of Mauritania with Mali), decided to avoid Marrakech at all costs. Around March 7th 2015, his northward journey started. Contrary to his spring migration of last year, when he stopped in Marrakech for a few days to recover, this year he made a wide turn around the city. Perhaps he contracted food poisoning there last year... By April 10th 2015, he reached his breeding grounds in Het Krekengebied in Flanders.

For an animated visualization of Jozef's journey, click on the image on the left.


Straight North!

Roxanne (5065), a female Lesser Black-backed Gull could not wait to get back to Zeebrugge when winter was finally over. By the end of March 2015, she left her wintering spot on the coast of Northern Algeria, crossed the Mediterranean Sea and France in a straight line, and arrived at her breeding colony in Zeebrugge only a few days later. Perhaps she was very eager to meet up with her friends and find a mate...

For an animated visualization of Roxanne's straight voyage, click on the image on the left.


No more boat trips for Harry

Harry (719), a male Lesser Black-backed Gull, probably had bad memories from his boat trip from last year's spring migration, since this year he chose for the safe option by following the coasts instead of crossing the Bay of Biscay. Around March 2nd 2015, he left his wintering spot in South Spain. When he arrived at the Bay of Biscay, he changed his mind about crossing the bay, and took a 90° course change, and continued his journey along the coasts instead. Only one week later, by March 9th 2015, he reached Zeebrugge.

For an animated visualization of Harry's safe trip, click on the image on the left.


Lost in the Bay of Biscay

Anke (5039), a female Lesser Black-backed Gull, left her wintering spot near Tanger, Northern Morocco, around March 5th 2015. She headed West, and followed the coast of Portugal until she reached the Bay of Biscay by March 8th 2015. There she spent three weeks foraging in the Bay, basically being all over the place. By the end of March she then continued her journey, and reached Zeebrugge a few days later, by April 2nd 2015. Once she arrived at her destination, she started flying back and forth between Zeebrugge and Maldegem.

For an animated visualization of Anke's wanderings, click on the image on the left.


Layover in the UK!

Not all birds fly back straight to their breeding grounds. Katrien (1402, ♀) and Sjarel (4045, ), two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, for instance made a detour to the United Kingdom before returning to Flanders.

For an animated visualization of Katrien and Sjarel's UK adventures, click on the image on the left.