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, 30 January 2015

Cold snap movements

As is to be expected there hasn’t been a huge amount of bird movement during the last few weeks, however, the cold snap at the start of the year did see an arrival of Teal and Bewick’s Swans. There was also a small movement of birds into gardens, in particular, Bramblings, Blackbirds and Chaffinches.

Teal by Edmund Fellowes

Looking at the BirdTrack data there have been a few Great and Pomarine Skuas around but the cold and at times stormy conditions seem to have pushed most of them further south.
The number of Glaucous Gulls and Iceland Gulls seems to have increased too, and with the onset of northerly winds they could increase further. 

Pomarine Skua by Joe Pender

Until recently, Redwing and Fieldfare were still relatively thin on the ground but it seems they might have responded to the colder weather and are either more obvious as they move around in search of berries, or might have been bolstered by a fresh arrival of birds escaping the snowy conditions further north. On 23 January, 4,000 Fieldfares were counted flying south in a couple of Hours at Snettisham, Norfolk, with more birds moving through the next day.

Fieldfare by Trevor Codlin

The forecast for the next few days and possibly well into next week is for scattered wintry showers and fairly strong northerly winds – these conditions could well push birds around and some areas get snow cover whilst others escape – so, we could see localised cold weather movements of Lapwings, Golden Plovers and Skylarks, and a movement of birds into gardens; Brambling often start to move into gardens at this time of year but where snow cover persists they could be present in larger numbers that usual – of course, like the showers, not everyone will get one. On the coasts, there could be more Iceland and Glaucous Gulls found and we might even see a few Little Auks on the move.

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