The last summer
Like every year, we dedicate ourselves tomigration analysis which leads our winged friends to migrate south in search of a more suitable territory to spend the bad season. This is how, through observation in the field, a consideration can be made on the presence of winged species. Our peninsula lends itself well to hosting winged species even if weather conditions can negatively or positively influence their presence. According to ornithologists it seems that the local species have suffered a decline in numbers due to the fact that three years ago a very cold spring led to the loss of the first brood, while last year a very hot and dry summer caused the number of insect larvae and caterpillars with consequent reduction in reproductive success and last but not least, this year, a series of very strong hailstorms may have compromised the existence of some individuals.
A below average phase
August was characterized by a wide fluctuation in temperatures, which went from a below average phase and then passed from the second and third decade to an intense heat wave, ending with the arrival of a polar maritime air front which then generated strong thunderstorms with intense rainfall, particularly heavy in the north and in Tuscany. The step, as we know, begins with the first departures of species nesting in the area such as Swifts which mark, after the first August storms, the end of their breeding season. In this summer context, as usually happens, there are added the departures of the first trans-Saharan species such as the Pied Flycatcher which already appears from northern Europe from the first decade of the summer month accompanied, to name a few, by the various Warblers, the Warbler, the Redstart, from Bigiarella. It should be emphasized that the migration of many trans-Saharan species, with the exception of Wheatears and Whinchats, went well from August to September. This year the Pied Flycatcher was present in excellent numbers, particularly from the second ten days of August to the third ten days of September. Also interesting is the presence of the Prispolone which appeared from the beginning of August with peaks of presence in the dates belonging to the second and third ten days of September, especially from the 12th to the 20th. Furthermore, its unusual presence in the north was also noted in the last ten days of month of October.
The first waders
The Redstart and the Flycatcher are subdued, the latter has been scarce in the area for some time. The same thing happens for the House Martin which, for some time, appears to be few in number as nesters and is observed to be numerically abundant, locally and only during migration when large groups gather in search of food. In August the first waders also move and in the territories congenial to them the various Sandpipers, Sandpipers and Sandpipers can be observed. The month of September was hot, with temperatures higher than the values of recent decades while, in terms of rainfall, it was in line with the average. Although the month transitions into autumn, temperatures were above normal until the third decade of October. This situation has slowed down migration. And while the first thrushes arrived from French Switzerland in the Iberian peninsula through the passes of the Pyrenees, in the north of our peninsula there were news of the first movements of the thrush in the high mountains until the first appearance of contingents probably belonging to subjects born in the neighboring areas on the move already in the first ten days of the month. In the following decades, the subjects who will acknowledge the first rampage that took place between the dates of September 27th and 28th will be added. At the end of this month, the first Siskins move in more or less numerous numbers and with them the numerous Wood Pigeons and Chaffinches.
The situation in September
In the countryside towards the end of the month the first Pipits appear. In the humid areas, some ducks such as Teal and Pochard are observed together with the first Snipes, while waders increase their presence. Also in September, a good number of wild doves are reported in the center of Italy. We are now in October and here it must be said how the above-normal temperatures have influenced in a rather unusual way a month that we are usually used to seeing as the beginning of autumn itself with all its facets. We have therefore entered, even if not in a completely continuous way, the heart of migration. Robins and Wood Pigeons are increasing and can be observed consistently from north to south: the latter have shown days of very intense migratory movement, with the passage of truly considerable contingents, although often at considerable heights, both on the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian sides. This year it was interesting to note the good number of Chiffchaffs observed accompanying the passage of the birds which, in the days from 9 to 12 October, with particular attention to the latter date, were observed significantly in various parts of Italy giving rise to the second fury of the pass. In the north the first Redwings have been spotted in recent days. They had already recorded good movement in Central Europe and Slovenia in the third ten days of September. Returning to October, redwings were also observed in central Italy. To them, in the north and in the middle hills, as well as in the northern Apennines, are added the first Cesena sighted at the end of the second decade. And while Siskins and Chaffinches become more numerous, in this autumn 2023 the first Bramblings arrive which were absent last year. Speaking of absences or in any case of insignificant numbers, this autumn it is worth underlining the scarce presence of the Pipiton in the countryside and of the Hawfinch, the latter having been scarcely present in our latitudes for some years now. As regards the Blackbird, its scarce and very localized presence is highlighted. The same can be said of the Tordela and the Capinera, observed with numbers below the average. Always in good numbers, however, the Starling.
The latest on woodcock
In the second decade the first House Sparrows appear, while in the third decade, in some areas, Black Tits and Linnets are observed. On the Beccaccia we can only add that by the end of the month not many observations had yet been received. The first Woodcock passing in the north in the high hills are reported in the first ten days of October, while in the northern and central Apennine areas after the 25th. Even for the Skylark it doesn't seem like an autumn worthy of note and there are no particularly important dates to highlight in his presence. The month of October ends with the arrival of a strong disturbance which will reach its peak in northern and central Italy, especially the Tyrrhenian side, at the start of November, causing a serious flood in Tuscany and strong storm surges on the coasts of the Ligurian Sea and upper Adriatic with extensive damage. This situation could be a negative prelude for the continuation of migration. It is interesting to note how the strong sirocco winds, almost constantly present in the southern regions for much of the month of October, do not seem to have negatively influenced the passage of common migrants such as the Song Thrush, which proved abundant in particular in the regions of the Ionian side and Adriatic. In conclusion, it is obvious to remember that the analysis of migration represented here at an average national level would appear strange to those who have seen little, if not nothing, in the areas less suited to the phenomenon, but the observations and data collected fortunately still mark a good transition of the birdlife in the area. It is the curious behavior of our winged friends that interests scholars and all enthusiasts because, as has been observed especially in recent years, the phenomena linked to the meteorologist are changing migratory habits. “Being in the field” is very important to analyze this phenomenon which is always difficult to understand and know in depth. (Walter Sassi – ANUUMigratoristi)