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, 24 September 2015

Migration in full swing

It feels strange writing a migration blog for Britain when I am much
closer to Oslo than London. With Fair Isle so far north, it is to be
expected that winter visitors might turn up earlier than further south
and there is definitely a taste of winter. Since arriving, the Snow
Bunting flock has grown, and the first Fieldfare of the autumn has
been joined by small flocks of Redwings.
Snow Buntings by Trevor Codlin

Summer hasn't given up quite yet though; there are still small numbers
of Whinchats, Wheatears, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers, all birds that
are making their way to Africa. These summer visitors were joined
today by a Swallow and a House Martin.
Whinchat by Trevor Codlin

Further south, migration is in full swing. Swallows are moving out of
the country in force, and the first Brent Geese are turning up, it
really is a great time to see summer meeting winter. It is also a
great time to see rare and scarce visitors, particularly here on Fair
Isle. Yesterday saw a record count of Yellow-browed Warblers turn up.
A remarkable 53 were found around the island, remarkable not only
because no other single site has received this many on a single day
before, but because the normal wintering area for this species is Southeast Asia.
Yellow-browed Warbler by Trevor Codlin

Back on the mainland, birdwatchers are reporting large numbers of Siskins on their BirdTrack lists and a ringer in Thetford reported over 400 Siskins ringed in his garden on Friday. The BirdTrack graph below shows the remarkable peak in Siskin reporting rate compared to previous years.
Reporting rate for Siskin from

The forecast high-pressure system should see migration continue apace,
with more summer visitors leaving and winter visitors arriving.
Chiffchaff should begin to outnumber Willow Warblers at coastal
watch-points and we could all see Redwings. Strong westerly winds have already brought north American landbirds to the UK in the form of a Blackpoll Warbler and a Grey-cheeked Thrush, both at St Agnes on the Isles of Scilly. With strong westerlies forecast for the next week we could see more getting blown across the Atlantic.

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