News: Autumn migration has begun.
August 2010: After a prolonged period of rain the weather changed and immediately afterwards several hundreds of departing Purple Herons have been reported at bird observatories in the Netherlands during the last few days. So, Autumn migration to West Africa has started. To date no herons with transmitters have joined the departing flocks. All herons with transmitters bred successfully and should be ready to take off the coming weeks. Karen most likely died in the desert of Morocco and thus three herons of previous years are still alive and with operational transmitters: Lena, Rudi and Mustapha.
May 2010: After a gap of three months we can fortunately report the successful spring migration of Karen, Mustapha, Lena and Rudi. Mustapha and Lena have already returned to the breeding colonies in the Netherlands. This is especially exciting for Lena, who is the first juvenile Purple Heron ever to be followed from fledging into breeding. Lena spend two northern summers in Africa before returning this year for the first time; this was longer than expected. Rudi made a long stop in the Parque Nacional de Doñana in southern Spain on his way back to the Netherlands and, as far as we know, is still not back in the colony. Karen passed the desert successfully but flew out into the open ocean and after a 1000 km detour ended up in the Canary Islands. After recovering there for over two weeks has now headed onto Morocco. Whether Karen will be back in time to breed is unclear, but this seems unlikely as the first Purple Herons have already hatched in the Dutch colonies.
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Further information about the specific habitats used by Purple Herons can be gathered through photographs. We have received the following photograph from Ger van Creij of a Purple Heron in Takoradi in Ghana in October 2007, showing the type of habitat that the herons are using.
Adult Purple Heron at Takoradi (Ghana) on 15 October 2007 (Ger van Creij)