BTO migration blog

Spring and autumn are exciting times for anyone who watches birds. Here on this blog we will make predictions about when to expect migrant arrivals and departures, so that you know when and where to see these well-travelled birds.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Extraordinary week's migration

Last week was an extraordinary week, although the predicted Sociable Plover failed to show, it was a week for rare waders, with at least three Buff-breasted Sandpipers being reported and singles of Broad-billed Sandpiper and Kentish Plover in Cumbria, Spotted Sandpiper in Buckinghamshire, and Lesser Yellowlegs and Great Snipe in Norfolk, the latter in full display for one evening and one morning only.

Above: Calandra Lark by John Harding (not the Lincs bird)

Along with the Collared Flycatcher, mentioned in the last blog, Britain’s fourth Rock Bunting, and the first since 1967, was seen and photographed in North Yorkshire and subsequently identified from the photograph. An Audouin’s Gull in Suffolk took the British total to seven. The Calandra Lark seen in Lincolnshire and The Trumpeter Finch in Devon took their respective British totals to sixteen.

Above: Swallow by Tommy Holden

With a distinct lack of common migrants at south coast watchpoints, observers there had been lamenting the end of spring migration. Nothing could be further from the truth on the east coast; Spurn recorded one of its biggest Swallow days so far this spring, on Wednesday, when 3,356 were counted flying south, along with good numbers of House Martins, this was reflected nationally by the birdtrack reporting rate. It has also been the best week of the spring for Spotted Flycatcher, and wader migration continues apace.
Things should be a little quieter this week as the weather changes and the winds come from the west. However, May is the best month of the year for an American Sparrow to turn up, and with low fronts tracking across the Atlantic, the safe money is on White-throated Sparrow, however, another Lark Sparrow would be very welcome.

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