Birding Axarquia
Summer Migration Dates

Given that many of the British Summer Migrants may be present all year round in the south of Spain, I have looked at seven species that we might really consider non-residents.  Using my data to look back over the past five years, I have arrived at an average arrival and departure date for these birds.  However, there has not been a deliberate or concentrated effort at arriving at a definitive date for both so others may very well be seeing the birds outside of these dates.

Similarly, in some years I have been away from the area at the appropriate time or visiting a site such as the Doñana National Park where you might expect an earlier or later figure depending upon the season.  Other than the above, most sightings have been in the Axarquia and, particularly, in the area near to LakeViñuela and the surrounding mountains.  Where there has been an obvious “blip” then that particular season has been ignored and the average re-calculated.  Again, as each year has passed I have had more opportunity to be “out and about” so the later years are more reliable than the earlier years.

In 2009, the last Woodchat Shrike was assumed to be on 11 September but then a very late juvenile was seen in the Isla Mayor area as we entered the Donana National Park.  On the same day, and in the same location, the last group of Barn Swallows (a group of 30+ resting on electricity cables in the village itself) was seen although subsequent individuals were seen on both the 5th and 7th of November, the former on the Spanish/Portuguese border and the latter, once more, in the Donana National Park.

The seven species studied were:

Turtle Dove                     (Tórtola Europea)          Streptopelia turtur

Common Swift                (Vencejo Común)          Apus apus

Bee-eater                        (Abejaruco Europea)     Merops apiaster 

Barn Swallow                 (Golondrina Común)      Hirundo daurica

Red-rumped Swallow    (Golondrina Daurica)    Hirundo daurica

House Martin                   (Avión Común)               Delichon urbicum

Woodchat Shrike           (Alcaudón Común)        Lanius senator

Average arrival and departure dates:

Turtle Dove          Arrives           20 April              departs (Too little information to compute)

Common Swift                           31 March                         14 September

Bee-eater  *                                30 March                         24 September

Barn Swallow                             28 February                    11 November

Red-rumped Swallow               24 March                        27 September

House Martin                           10 March                           16 October

Woodchat Shrike                     26 March                           31 October

*  In each of the previous three years, the Bee-eaters have dispersed immediately following the first continuous rain in mid to late September lasting more than two days.