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Monday, September 20, 2010

Festival of Mabon

Mabon is the Festival of the Autumn Equinox and is usually celebrated on September 21st. After Mabon, the nights in the Northern Hemisphere are longer than the days and, although we may still enjoy some lingering warmth in the sunshine, we know that summer is efectively over and autumn is upon us.

In the bird world, Mabon is the time of frenzied migration. Many species have already departed, and for others, like wading birds, it is the time of peak flow as they vacate their breeding quarters in the Arctic tundra to head south to warmer climes. I am spending this period observing migration at the Biological Station at the Seewinkel National Park in Burgenland, on the Austria-Hungary border. Here, the birds pause on their way south in order to rest, feed and build up strength for the next stage of their journey.

The Turnstone is a rare bird away from the coast and this youngster must have become disorientated on its first migration south to Africa

The Little Stint is one of the tiniest shore birds, scarcely larger than a sparrow, and works its bill rapidly like a sewing machine as it probes the shoreline incessantly for invertebrate food

The Spotted Redshank is passing through in hundreds and uses its longer bill for
picking out prey from deeper water where it can wade on longer legs.

Kingfishers are not normally thought of as migratatory birds, but many move away when rivers and lakes freeze up. The Biological Research Station in the Seewinkel National Park caught 69 Kingfishers in a period of three weeks; one of them had already been ringed in Poland

Mabon sunset over Burgenland

A Happy Mabon to all my readers!


Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

We are not too happy about our equinox in my part of the world: we are having more than our usual share of equinoctial storms it seems!!!

10:18 am  
Blogger donsands said...

I am sad that summer is over, and yet I welcome the Autumn season, with the brillaint colors it brings in the changing of the leaves on the trees here in Maryland. It's a way I marvel at God's handiwork.

8:37 pm  
Blogger Ellee Seymour said...

Is there any festival you do not celebrate with your feathery friends?
Happy Mabon to you too.

9:53 pm  
Blogger simon said...

that looks very much like our Azure Kingfisher mate!

11:50 pm  
Blogger Cloudia said...

lovely post, your highness

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

4:27 am  
Blogger Jenny Holden said...

Fabulous place to be. See you when you're back in Cumbria!

9:44 am  
Blogger Badger said...

Excellent photos Maalie! You are very good with birds.

8:37 am  

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