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.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Migrants brave the cold

Despite the wintry conditions there have been some impressive arrivals of summer migrants. Chiffchaffs were on the move in triple figures, along with Wheatears, 250 and 100 respectively were counted on Portland, Dorset, on 27 March. A small number of Willow Warblers also arrived amongst the first flush of Ring Ouzels that reached double figures at several south coast sites.

Ring Ouzel at Portland by Martin Cade

Sand Martins are fairly numerous along the south coast but Swallows are still obvious by their absence, and House Martins have only been seen in ones and twos. Around forty Garganey turned up in the south during the week, and the first Redstarts and Tree Pipits were seen.  Although there have been a reasonable number of summer visitors arrive, rather unsurprisingly, they haven’t moved far from the south coast.

Redwings, Fieldfares and Waxwings are still around in good numbers but the winter wildfowl numbers have fallen, the BirdTrack reporting rate for Brent Goose reflects this well.

BirdTrack reporting rate for Brent Goose

Scarce migrants have been well represented, four  each of White-spotted Bluethroats and Kentish Plovers were found from Portland to Kent and a Red-rumped Swallow graced the skies of St Mary’s Isles of Scilly. Given the weather conditions a more likely candidate in the shape of a Black-throated Thrush was found in and Aberdeenshire garden.

White-spotted Bluethroat, Portland, Martin Cade

Over the next few days the brisk north-easterlies are due to drop in strength and might even turn south-easterly for a short time. If this happens we could see a rush of summer migrants arriving with a continuing flavour of eastern scarcities – a stunning summer plumaged Rustic Bunting would be an excellent find.

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