Numerous migrating birds pit-stop in Malta

Early migrant birds take pit-stop in Malta’s nature reserves
on their way to Africa, BirdLife Malta says

The eurasian spoonbill was one of the birds that stopped in Malta en route to Africa
The eurasian spoonbill was one of the birds that stopped in Malta en route to Africa

Migration season for birds begins with so-called ‘waders’ after the breeding season ended. According to BirdLife Malta, these birds start migrating from the Scandinavian wetlands or further north, where the short summer season leads these birds to fly south.

BirdLife explained that these birds stop to rest and feed in the Maltese Islands, mostly in Malta’s nature reserves in Għadira and Simar due to the scarcity of wetland in Malta.

“This summer we have already registered a considerable number of different wader species,” BirdLife said in a statement. “The latest were two Spoonbills which landed in Simar nature reserve over the last few days. These are scarce migrant. They have a large, flat, spatulate bill and feeds by wading through shallow water, sweeping the partly-opened bill from side to side,” it said.

BirdLife also mentioned that a number of juvenile glossy ibises, another wader, stopped in Malta. These are said to have spent a couple of hours at Għadira nature reserve at the beginning of August.

“The most distinctive feature of the glossy ibis is its plumage, showing luminous colours that seem to change when seen from different angles together with the distinctive shape of the bill which it uses to forage in shallow water, in search of food,” BirdLife explained, adding that this kind of bird is a very scarce and irregular migrant since this habitat is not found in Malta.

The NGO also reportedly noticed a Sandpiper at Simar a few hours after it released two Wood Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper back into the wild at Għadira Nature Reserve after ringing them.

Yet another wader species BirdLife noticed was the dunlin. This, it said, was seen at Għadira during the first week of August.

Lastly, purple herons, grey herons, night herons and little egrets were all reported to have visited the reserves at some time or other during the past weeks, BirdLife said.

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