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, 20 April 2012

Arctic Terns aplenty.

Even though the weather has been challenging for northward bound migrants, particularly in southern Europe, small numbers have still trickled in in during the week, with the exception of Ring Ouzel and Arctic Tern, which arrived in force.

Arctic Tern by Andy Mason

The early part of the week saw the continued Ring Ouzel arrival but as it tailed off towards the middle of the week, Arctic Terns took over. Flocks of this marine tern were seen migrating through the Midlands, with one flock of eighty birds lingering on Wednesday afternoon at Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire. Accompanying these were a small number of Little Gulls and the first Black Terns of the spring.

Arctic and Common Tern can be difficult to separate. See the BTO identification video for some useful tips.

As expected, most of the migrant action has been in the south, however Fair Isle, Shetland, saw its first Swallow and Tree Pipit of the spring.

Two Turtle Doves were found in Cambridgeshire, a few Whitethroats arrived and Reed Warblers can be heard in most southern reedbeds, albeit still in small numbers.

Despite the north and westerly airflow and very stormmy weather around the Mediterranean, southern overshoots have been well represented this week. With a Kentish Plover, Little Bittern and Black Kite, Wales was the place to be. Five new Hoopoes were found in southern Britain, along with two more Black kites, in Devon and Hertfordshire, and the two Black-winged Stilts from last week still putting in appearances.

Black-winged Stilt by Neil Calbrade

Common Sandpipers also put in an appearance with small groups seen at a few south coast sites. In general though it has been a fairly quiet week for the time of the year. However, it looks like there might be a small window in the weather in Europe on Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning, which could  open the floodgates for those birds that are held-up further south, before stormy Atlantic weather returns on Monday to perhaps close them again.

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