Spring migration 2016 | Lifewatch regional portal

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Spring migration 2016

In the course of March 2016, most Lesser Black-backed Gulls 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 mid-March, the first Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrived at their breeding grounds in Flanders. By the mid-April all tagged gulls were back in Flanders.

Unfortunately no data is available (yet) for the Western Marsh Harriers.

By clicking on the map on the right, you are redirected to an interactive map displaying the spring migration of 2016 of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Below you can read some peculiar travel stories.



No way I'm taking the same route home as you!

Although Roxanne (5065) and Sacha (5140), two female Lesser Black-backed Gulls spent the winter of 2015-2016 in the exact same location along the Algerian coast, they did not take the same route home, at all! While Roxanne took the western route, Sacha preferred the eastern route. And they did not even bother to leave at the same time as well. It seems that they did not get along well enough to venture the spring migration together.

For an animated visualization of frenemies Roxanne and Sacha, click on the image on the left.


A couple more days in El-Aaiún

Many Lesser Black-backed Gulls spent the winter season of 2015-2016 along the African West Coast: Sanne (833) (♀), Steven (4040) (♂), Ian (5071) (♂), Kate (854) (♀), Jasmin (858) (♀), Hilbran (849) (♂), Susanne (5068) (♀), Anke (5039) (♀) and Ella (5063). And many of these birds even traveled to the exact same locations as last winter: Dakar (Senegal), Port-Étienne (Mauritania), Dakhla and El-Aaiún (Western Sahara). While most gulls left their wintering spots by the end of March, Sanne (833) (♀) and Kate (854) (♀) stayed a little longer and spent some quality time in El-Aaiún. By mid-April they also left, and arrived in Flanders by the end of April.

For an animated visualization of Sanne's and Kate's long journey, click on the image on the left.


Angel : a very organized forager

During winter 2015-2016, Angel (5073), a female Lesser Black-backed Gull, resided in the vicinity of Coimbra, Portugal. In the month of February she divided her time between the city of Figueira da Foz, the nature reserve "Reserva Nátural das Dunas de São Jacinto", and a waste recycling center (ERSUC). She only took two routes: Figueira da Foz - ERSUC (along the valley of the Mondega) and ERSUC - nature reserve, and she never strayed. If you click on the map on the left and then zoom in to the area around Coimbra, you can see her arc-shaped foraging route! Mid-march she headed back North, and two weeks later she already arrived in Flanders.

For an animated visualization of Angel, click on the image on the left.


Imme's Eurotrip

During the winter season of 2015-2016Imme [5199], a female Lesser Black-backed Gull settled for the vicinity of Nantes, instead of the warmer South of Spain. By the end of March 2016, she was back in Flanders. After some foraging along the Belgian coast, she started her eurotrip: first country on the itinerary was The Netherlands, then she travelled to Denmark, and after crossing the southern tip of Sweden, she even ended up in Poland! From Poland she crossed Germany, and then flew straight back to Denmark, where she spent a few weeks.

For an animated visualization of Imme's Eurotrip, click on the image on the left.