Aves, p�le ornithologique de Natagora

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Aves, 49/4 | 2012 | 237-252

  Observations from December 2011 to February 2012

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After a mild start to the 2011-2012 winter, a very cold spell from late January to mid-February brought a late influx of several species of waterfowl (mergansers, for example) and stopped early migration, while other species became scarce for a time. The abundance of small mammals encouraged the overwintering of Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor and of various raptors, notably Red Kite Milvus Milvus, Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, and Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus. A remarkable event for our regions was the second consecutive major influx of Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus. Among the passerines, particularly noteworthy was the presence of some insect- eaters at the limit of their winter range (Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros, Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita, Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla…). Among the seed-eaters, Bramblings Fringilla montifringilla were relatively scarce, at the contrary of others such as Linnet Carduelis cannabina, Siskin Carduelis spinus and Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea. Similar contrasts occurred among the over-wintering waterfowl. Relatively abundant species included Mute Swan Cygnus olor, Gadwall Anas strepera, Shoveler Anas clypeata, Canada Goose Branta canadensis, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. By contrast, there were few sightings of Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, Eurasian Teal Anas crecca and of other species which habitually over-winter further north. Unexpected visitors include in particular three Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius in December, a Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis and a Hoopoe Upupa epops in January and two White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla in February.

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