TRIVIAL COMMENTS ON OVERWINTERING SUMMER MIGRANTS IN THE OVERBERG
Posted on the 28th June 2022
We are often involved in discussions about summer migrants being recorded during winter months, with some members getting really excited when finding such birds. It was therefore decided to review our records for the months of June over the last three years since we started keeping monthly lists of species recorded in the Overberg region. Ten migratory species were recorded during June 2022. Note that I did not have time to do extensive research in this regard and I only consulted the second edition of the Roberts Bird Guide. Only three migratory species were recorded during all three years. Many juvenile COMMON GREENSHANKS overwinter and it is described that overwintering is common in EURASIAN WHIMBRELS. In the case of COMMON TERNS many first and second year birds overwinter.
Four species were recorded in two of the three years. Juvenile GREY PLOVERS often overwinter and there weren’t any indications that RUDDY TURNSTONES do so. It is therefore very interesting that Carin Malan recorded at least 15 birds at Franskraal last weekend. Small numbers of juvenile SANDWICH TERNS apparently overwinter. The BLACK SAW-WING is an intra-African migrant with small numbers remaining year-round.
Several other species were only recorded during one month of June over the last three years. Some BAR-TAILED GODWITS and TEREK SANDPIPERS overwinter, while small numbers of LITTLE STINTS do so. Many juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPERS spend the winter months in our region. The LESSER CRESTED TERN is a non-breeding migrant that is vagrant to the Western Cape and this record should therefore be regarded as being very special.
The BOOTED EAGLE is really interesting in that there is a breeding intra-African migratory population in the Western Cape with some birds overwintering. There is however a non-breeding Palearctic migratory population in the north of the country. The WESTERN OSPREY is a non-breeding Palearctic migrant with rare, sporadic breeding attempts having been recorded in Southern Africa. There are some winter records, mostly of juvenile birds. Both the COMMON QUAIL and GREATER STRIPED SWALLOW are intra-African migrants with some birds overwintering. The BARN SWALLOW is however a Palearctic migrant with small numbers of apparently first year birds spending our winters here.
Western Osprey - Carin Malan
Finally it should be mentioned that the ANTARCTIC TERN is our only winter migrant and therefore it obviously had been recorded in all three recent months of June. In our area the Danger Point peninsula is particularly well known for sightings of this special species.
Our monthly lists are already beginning to produce interesting findings and information, with the result that we would like to encourage all birders in the region, as well as visitors to report sightings of species and particularly migrants to email@example.com We will probably re-visit this overview of overwintering summer migrants towards the end of August.