About the Author

Pete Thorpe

Field Guide

Right from his very first bush trip at the age of four, Pete was always enthralled by this environment. Having grown up in the Middle East, Pete’s home-away-from-home has always been a bungalow in the Greater Kruger National Park, where his family had ...

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32 Comments

on The Great Return

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Mark Sadler
Explorer

Lovely story. Terrific photos as well.

Hoping you can welcome non-feathered guests back soon.

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

I can’t wait to hear the redchested cuckoo in my garden, although after awhile the call is a bit irritating. It is always a sign of summer when we hear the first woodlands kingfisher. The days are getting warmer in the Lowveld. Summer is on the way.

Kenneth Macleod
Explorer

that’s quite incredible flying fromWestern Russia to Londoz in one go, any idea how long that would be of continuous flying

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Kenneth,

I have been reading up on this. Studies have shown that they are capable of flying 2000 kilometres in one flight. They will do several “long-hops” to get down to southern Africa, rather than one long flight as I had initially stated in the blog.

Kenneth Macleod
Explorer

thanks Pete still incredible, very interesting blog a few more updates on this would be great from the list it looks like there is a lot more still to happen

Francesca Doria
Explorer

Hi, how interesting the migration routes of all birds are… cuckoo are less and less seen in Europe, they have become a rare sight in several places in spite of their habit to lay their eggs in other species nests. I am sure you are all very keen on recording sights and number of species!

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

Pete, what a great blog today🤗

Darlene Knott
Digital Tracker

Beautiful birds! We cannot wait to return!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Thanks for the update Pete! I’m sure you all look forward to a bit warmer weather. The list of all the migratory bird list is quite amazing. We had no idea how many different species move back and forth! What is Palearctic?

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

There are two main groupings of migratory pathways that concern us in Africa. The first is the “intra-African” group that move within Africa. This is normally a North-South movement within the continent. The second is the “Palearctic’ group. These birds migrate from Africa to Europe and/or all the way into Asia on an annual basis. For interest sake, the longest round trip of any animal in the World is made by the Arctic Tern – 44000 miles or about 70000 kilometres each year!

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Thanks Pete, now we understand the Palearctic part!

Linda Mansell
Explorer

Excellent piece Peter, you really ‘had’ me at first … with the descriptions of your first visitors! Loved the photos as well.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

The carmine bee-eater is a beautiful bird–such rich colors!

Doug Hammerich
Senior Digital Ranger

Wow! The carmine bee-eater is a show-stopper!

George Prior
Explorer

Beautiful — the Bee Eater is so colorfull

Paul Canales
Senior Digital Ranger

So cool! Thanks for posting, and looking forward to other migration news!

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Actually I’m quite envious of these visitors – but has anyone told them they have to go into quarantine for 2 weeks?

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

We are keeping our distance, Suzanne.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Lucky, lucky birds.

Cally Staniland
Explorer

So interesting to view your list of migrating birds. Growing up in White River, my father instilled a love in us all. for our feathered friends. Now living in Malta (one of the pit stops for migratory birds) and sailing the Mediterranean I have watched the sad decline of so many on your list. Malta has hunting rights for the best part of the year, including spring hunting. Sadly they do not stick to their quota and ignore rules with regard to protected birds. European bee eaters, any birds of prey and more are slaughtered. Most not even collected but if they are, are sold at a huge price so outweighs any fine they may incur. Tragic. On a lighter note though, we are presently sailing in the Aeolian Islands /Sicily and have seen small colonies of the rare Eleonora’s Falcon nesting on the rocky Obelisks that are scattered around the islands.!

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Cally,

That’s exciting news about the Eleonora’s Falcon. Enjoy the sailing trip. A real pity to hear about the open hunting rights – we definitely noticed fewer European Rollers last year, however the number that appear each year does seem to fluctuate.

Kara Taylor
Digital Tracker

Here’s to the beginning of warmer days and the thought of being together and migrating ourselves again!!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Good to know you’ve some return visitors, albeit the feathered kind. The wood sandpiper is fantastic and I hope to see one in a drive. Good luck and keep those eyes and ears in tune!!

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

A nice blog Pete and am sure the arrival of your feathered guests gives you all hope for things to come. I am sure that you are all suffering from the lack of human guests as, without them there is no income. Times are very tough the world over due to this virus and many lives have been lost. Fingers crossed that they will find a vaccine and things can return to normal. In the meantime – be well and stay safe to everyone at Londolozi.

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Thanks Leonie

Carly M
Explorer

Awesome to see that these amazing birds have returned! ❤️

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Amazing!! Yellow-billed kites have already arrived in Zululand and Cape Town too.

Christa Blessing
Senior Digital Ranger

I absolutely admire migratory birds. The distances they often fly are just incredible and amazing!
Here in Switzerland our migratory birds are slowly gathering and getting ready for the great leap ever the Mediterranean. Soon I will have to say goodbye to my house swifts (common house martin) who breed under the roof of my house. They arrive each year towards the end of April and leave in late August/ early September. It is always a bit sad when they go. And the flight is so dangerous, especially because some Southern European countries still have the habit of catching these tiny birds….
If only the planes for the non-feathered guests to Southern Africa started soon…

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

Hi Christa,

It’s ironic how on one side of the World people are sad to see the migratory birds leaving, while on the other side, we are getting excited for their return. I’m hoping that it won’t be long for the non-feathered guests either…

Maxine Thomson
Explorer

Loved this story about the migrating birds Pete! It blows my mind as to the distances they have to travel! How on earth does such a small creature have the energy reserves to fly that far… I struggle to go to the gym 15 mins away…. in a car😂Thank you for sharing this wonderful information…. I had a giggle about your comment in the first paragraph… about monitoring breeding patterns of these birds…is there a chart for the guests too? 😆 I had to reread to the sentence! Made my day! Take care

Pete Thorpe
Field Guide

I’m glad you enjoyed it, Maxine!

Jenny Clover
Explorer

Always enjoy your informative blogs, so well crafted!

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