Wednesday, February 02, 2011

flying Coots

looking at a Coot in flight it hardly seems designed for even hopping over the nearest hedge never mind long distance migration but they do cover incredible distances and can form fantastic concentrations in winter and when undergoing their complete wing moult in mid-summer; in spite of all this the species is probably one of those most ignored by birders -- this morning several potential pairs and territory holders were having the usual scraps but this one bird kept doing long circular flights over the pits calling with a slightly different monosyllabic note that I have heard them do at night when presumably on migration
From BWPi    Directions of European migration routes mainly west to south in autumn, reverse in spring. Movement through continental Europe on broad front, with recoveries of birds that wintered or passed through Bavaria (southern Germany), Austria, Switzerland, and Czechoslovakia extending north to Baltic and east through East Germany into USSR, seemingly without deflection around topographical barriers such as mountains; also a narrower-front coastal movement through Baltic, bringing birds from as far east as Moscow into North Sea countries, including Britain (Brown 1955), with some onward passage as far as Iberia or even north-west Africa.
The Migration Atlas notes that there are few reports of visible migration and there is much to be learnt about this common and widespread species - the estimated UK summer population of 54,600 birds is said to increase to 200,000 birds in mid winter and yet no-one seems to see or record 150,000 birds arriving or departing! --

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