Heavy migration of Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) through the Taunus/ Germany

Song ThrushDuring a short trip with sunny weather and quite clear sky but a cold wind in the morning of March 26th through the upper Taunus near Bad Soden I experienced many migrating birds among them approx. 50 Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) and more than a 100 Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs).  Remarkable in the sighting of the Chaffinches was the gender relationship which was very much in favor of the males – all in beautiful breeding plumage.

Remarkable with the Song Thrushes were the sheer numbers observed. They tried to conceal among dry grass or clods to take food. All this was complicated by the tight chokes for wind, which the thrushes also tried to avoid. Eventually, using the car as a moving hide, a smaller flock of Song Thrushes could be seen in perfect light showing their typical arrow-markings on the belly.

There are other recent sightings on the last few days, so approx. 50 individuals near the city of Fulda in the eastern part of Hesse, 70 km east of Frankfurt or 66 individuals near Wissen (near the town of Altenkirchen in the Westerwald) yesterday. But normally there are only observations of a few birds. This observation was made only 20 km north of the center of the city of Frankfurt on approx.. 250m above sea level (asl).

The Song Thrush is to a great extent a migratory bird, which move to the southwest and west to the predominantly Mediterranean winter quarters. The wintering areas of most European populations are mainly west and south of the 2.5 ° C isotherm in January. This means in southwest France, the Iberian peninsula, the Apennine and Balkan Peninsula, North Africa, Asia Minor and the Middle East.

Researches showed, that the populations of the British Isles and Western Europe are partly sedentary or migrate only short distances during harsh weather conditions. In so far are winter observations in Central Europe, especially in mild winters not uncommon. The spring migration usually starts in late January / early February and peaks in March. The birds tend to fly in small flocks. Migration may extend until the end of April and should be completed until the beginning of May. As mentioned in other blogs already this winter is quite cold and long-lasting in Germany. This could explain that the migration of the Thrushes is quite late in comparison what Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim mentioned in his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 11/II „Passeriformes, Turtidae“ about the migration of the Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos.

Knowing the right places to look for resting Song Thrushes after the first encounter they could be found almost everywhere when there was food and shelter from the wind. Not difficult to miss the pair of Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus), which was present in the surroundings, too. Mistle ThrushThey look very similar, however, the Mistle Thrush prefers the more open areas such as fields or sown pastures with short grass. Quite interesting that I did not see any Redwing (Turdus iliacus), which is normally around when Song Thrushes migrate albeit in much smaller numbers.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  The nice images you find in that blog or in the gallery are only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give me a message, if I could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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