Summer migrants are arriving though, and I did manage my first of the year, three male Wheatears and a lone Sandwich Tern. Warblers and hirundines were sadly lacking though, by now the Sand Martin colony the eastern end of the head would normally be occupied. Presumably the martins that arrived in early March have struggled to survive. We have been given a hint of this struggle. Over the last few days there has been an arrival of Chiffchaffs, particularly in the south-west. In the desperate struggle to find food these birds are searching in the grasses and along the tideline, and around the feet of their observers.
One of 15 Chiffchaffs feeding on flies on Wembury Beach, Plymouth.
Photos by Brian Nixon
Despite the conditions the first Cuckoo was reported in Devon on 31 March and it looks like the first of our satellite-tagged Cuckoos won't be too far behind, as Chris's tag transmitted from northern Algeria just this morning, indicating he had successfully crossed the Sahara Desert. Follow his journey and that of the other four birds as they return to the UK at www.bto.org/cuckoos.
The first Yellow Wagtails have arrived, hinting at the backlog of migrants that are presumably held up in France and Spain. The forecast for the weekend could well be in their favour, particularly on Sunday, when light southerlies and slightly warmer temperatures are promised, at least in the south of the country. This could be the day that the floodgates open, and the day to be out vis migging.