Just under 116,000 migratory birds were observed over the weekend in Belgium by volunteers from the Natagora and Natuurpunt nature-protection associations as part of EuroBirdwatch 2022, Natagora reported on Monday.
In all, more than 4.6 million birds were counted across Europe and as far as Asia Minor, it said.
EuroBirdwatch, set up by the International BirdLife organisation, is Europe's largest birdwatching event. It allows for the evaluation, each year, of the demographic evolution of bird populations and changes in migration.
On the weekend of 2-3 October, more than 19,000 people gathered across Europe identified more than 4.6 million birds. The three countries where the largest numbers of winged travelers were observed were Finland (1,500,000), Lithuania (1,247,682) and Sweden (773,105).
Chaffinches, barnacle geese and great tits were the most sighted species.
In Belgium, around 116,000 (115,936) birds belonging to 143 different species were recorded by 250 ornithologists in 73 counting stations.
The chaffinch was also one of the birds most seen in the Belgian skies, as were the song thrush and redwing. “Participants were also able to observe the very last barn swallows leaving for Africa,” says Natagora.
"Each species of migratory bird passes over our country at a specific time in the fall," the association explained. "The complete migration season in Belgium runs from mid-summer to the end of November. In 2021, volunteer ornithologists from Natagora and Natuurpunt thus counted 10 million birds passing through in the fall.
"This astronomical number represents only the visible part of the diurnal migration (many species migrate at high altitude) on a limited number of Belgian sites," the association noted.