White storks passing through in early August in Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales: how to explain this early migration?

It is with precocity that the first flights of white storks have been postponed in the Pyrénées-Orientales and in Aude at the beginning of August 2022. Should we see exceptional dates? Yes, according to François Gallon, ornithologist at CerCaNature and responsible for the migration spot in Eyne.

This year is exceptional, we are going to have lots of surprises in terms of migrations!” announces François Gallon, responsible for the migration spot in Eyne. And the surprises have indeed begun. Witnesses, the first white storks presented in Perpignan and Souanyas on 1uh august.

Forty birds observed in Perpignan

So certainly, observations in June and July in Cerdagne have already been made, 3 to 4 individuals or isolated storks, which are called erratics. But this time, the group is larger, about forty birds observed in Perpignan.

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And our colleagues at the Gruissan spot, the first national observation center for seabirds and storks, have already decided on more than a thousand,“adds François Gallon. “CIt’s really early and the ornithologists based in Aude were very surprised, since in general they appeared after August 15 and until September. A few Glossy Ibis have also left, they should soon be joined by Greater Flamingos.“The climatic conditions are responsible for these early migrations, but not only.

“Falcons which migrate at the beginning of October, have already passed in July”

Possibly, the fires in the south made them flee from their nesting place, in the Gard, in the Camargue. And to be there, the storks took the path of migration. But, if they find still active aquatic environments to feed on batrachians around Perpignan, they will continue their stopover.

For the moment, no white stork has been seen at the Eyne spot. On the other hand, mountain ornithologists have already seen species that show up….end of September beginning of October! “I observed three Red-footed Falcons passing together. There indeed, we can say that there is precocity! I also counted Hobby falcons which migrate at the end of August.

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The heat wave and the lack of water generated less fruit production and therefore fewer insects

A feeding problem for these insectivorous falcons? “Definitely. We also have a big problem too with Barn Swallows starting to pass over Eyne as they leave in September. The consumption of small fruit flies has been stopped by the use of insecticides. But also, the heat wave and the lack of water generated less fruit production and therefore fewer insects. Migration is linked to food. If this is rare, the birds quickly stock up to leave.

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All the cumulative factors, weather, fires and insecticide solutions have caused unprecedented and surprising early migratory passages for ornithologists.

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