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.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Swifts have arrived

Wednesday morning saw the first Swifts over the BTO headquarters here in Thetford, heralding their arrival across much of the country. Swifts are very much like this, arriving simultaneously across much of the country, normally around the end of April. They are a little late this year having been held up by the strong north and north-easterly winds experienced during the last week.

Those winds did bring lots of waders, terns and seabirds to the south and east coasts though, large numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits were seen on passage, even at many inland sites, and an unprecedented number of Wood Sandpipers turned up. Pomarine Skuas and Common and Arctic Terns have also been a regular feature for seawatchers.
Swifts are one of our last summer visitors to arrive but that doesn't mean that migration is over, far from it. The next few weeks will see more and more birds of a variety of species arriving. There haven't been too many Spotted Flycatchers and many of our breeding Nightjars will arrive in another week or so.

So, with south and south-easterly winds forecast for this weekend there is still plenty of scope for migration watching, southern overshoots are still very much on the cards, Bee-eaters could turn up almost anywhere, and we might also get a rarity from the east - Sociable Plover would fit the bill nicely.

Don't forget, that for many of our early migrants the breeding season is well underway. Check out our Migration Timeline for the nesting and egg-laying dates of a number of birds.

Above: Swift by Mike Toms

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