Dotterels in December

A band of Dotterels have been hanging around near the Alfés aerodrome this December. Now the place is not unusual, it’s a site well described for passage Dotterel in “Where the birds are in northeast Spain”, but the time of year most certainly is. The latest in the year that I have ever seen Dotterel in this part of Spain is in mid October. I also know of a record of a very large group in the nearby Monegros in early November. But this December record is at least a month later than any other in the region.

A sign of the times? A freak occurence, one of those that we birders are so fond of? Perhaps both.

When I came to live in Lleida in early 1989 there was just one pair of White Storks breeding in the city, on the cathedral. And that pair used to vacate the region in the winter. Now there are scores of storks nests, with around 20 nests on the cathedral alone. And most of those birds choose to stay here during the winter rather than set out on a long and hazardous migration to Africa.

Since I have been living here Red-rumped Swallows have colonized a number of areas in the vicinty of Lleida city. Black-winged Kites have also bred intermittently since their first recorded breeding in Catalonia in 1997.

Human migrations have also undergone dramatic changes.

We live in a rapidly changing world. Do you think the birds haven’t noticed?

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