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, 3 October 2014

West meets east.

The westerly airflow produced the good in the shape of several North American landbirds this week. At least three Red-eyed Vireos were seen, a Swainson’s Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler graced Shetland and an Ovenbird put in a brief appearance in County Cork. It seems ironic that a week of mostly westerly airflow should also turn up some top-drawer eastern rarities too. An obliging White’s Thrush was found in a garden on Mainland Shetland, a stunning male Eyebrowed Thrush graced the North Ronaldsay Observatory Garden in Orkney, with a Pechora Pipit being seen over the Obs garden on the same day.

Ovenbird by Bryan Thomas

Whilst westerly airflow spanned pretty much right across the North Atlantic for the latter part of the week, a low pressure system was creating north westerly airflow out of central Russia, which made landfall in Scandinavia, which could the almost simultaneous arrival of the White’s Thrush and Yellow-rumped Warbler around four miles apart on Shetland.

Skylark movement got underway this week, 119 were counted over Spurn, East Yorkshire on 2nd October, with Bardsey, Gwynedd, counting 205 over on the same day. Chaffinches are also starting to feature in visible migration counts too, although it could be a couple of more weeks or so before they really get moving.

The 2nd of October also saw a record 45,800 Pink-footed Geese arrive at Martin Mere, Lancashire, much smaller numbers have been seen moving south on the east coast of Britain, however, the east coast has seen a reasonable movement of Red-throated Divers and Common Scoters.
Swallow counts still exceeded the 100 mark on several days at several sites on the east and south coast during the week but House Martin numbers have been low.

Ring Ouzel by Luke Delve

The forecast of wet and windy weather from the west over the next few days should pretty much knock the head on visible migration. However, it might ground a few migrants that move between fronts. Ring Ouzel is definitely one to look out for. The quieter moments will see migration resume again and could result in some impressive hirundine and finch movements towards the middle of the week, Goldfinch in particular.

The westerly airflow will hit much further south this week than it did last week; possibly just in time for the start of the Scilly season. Maybe the islands will get its first North American landbird of the autumn, and later in the week something from the east. Blackpoll Warbler and Blyth’s Pipit would do.

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