Autumn migration is well under way and many summer migrants are now on the move. The main thrust this week has largely involved hirundines, with decent movements being observed of Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow, particularly through the Pennines and along the east coast. Passerines have been thin on the ground at coastal observatories though, with the exception of Chiffchaff and Blackcap, and to a lesser extent Wheatear, probably as a consequence of the strong westerly and north westerly winds we have been experiencing. The BirdTrack reporting rates for these species reflects this nicely. However, many species have been notable by their absence at coastal watchpoints.
Blackcap by Tommy Holden
Fieldfare by Tommy Holden
Winter visitors have also been on the move with the first push of Pink-footed Geese into the north and east, and a record movement of Teal off Spurn Point, East Yorkshire, where 2,600 were counted passing south on the 10th. The first Whooper Swans arrived at the Ouse Washes on the 11th and small numbers of Fieldfare have been seen in at least five east coast counties.
The first arrival of Redwing could happen any day now. In some winters almost three-quarters of a million Redwings and Fieldfares spend the winter months in the UK. Clearly Britain is important for wintering thrushes. This winter the BTO are hoping to find out how our winter thrushes use the British countryside and are asking people that see these birds to report their sighting through the Winter Thrush Survey.
Red-eyed Vireo by Joe Pender