19 August 2023
Fall migration is underway across the Northern Hemisphere. Some birds migrate alone or in small flocks that don’t attract much attention. Others gather in such massive flocks that they are hard to miss.
At pinch points along their migration routes from Europe to Africa, white storks (Ciconia ciconia) travel in very large flocks like the kettles of broad-winged hawks in North America. Two such pinch points are in the airspace over Israel, above, and at the Strait of Gibraltar.
In this short video white storks are about to cross the Straits from Spain to Morocco but hit a wall in the air — the levant wind blowing from the east — so they wheel back. They did not leave Spain that day.
1,640 White #Storks attempting to cross The #Straits this morning ! The #levante wind forcing them to break rank and head back ! ….maybe tomorrow. #FlywayBirding #Tarifa #Facinas #Birding #Migration #VisMig pic.twitter.com/TUcgIc3Rth— Inglorious Bustards (@Otis_inglorius) August 9, 2023
In North America semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) migrate in massive numbers from their breeding grounds in the Arctic to the shores of South America.
At the Bay of Fundy the flocks can number in the hundreds of thousands in August and early September.
One highlight on our @EagleEyeTours trip to New Brunswick is a visit to Johnson Mills Shorebird Reserve. Besides the incredible Bay of Fundy tides, we witnessed the spectacle of 65+ THOUSAND Semipalmated Sandpipers roosting, flocking and doing synchronized aerial acrobatics. pic.twitter.com/6aqAJUtt9p— Jared Clarke (@birdtherock) August 18, 2023
(photos from Wikimedia Commons; tweets embedded)