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 October 2015

Migration slowing down

Short-eared Owl by Amy Lewis

Migration is slowly winding down, but there are still a few birds on the move. There were a few reports of House Martin, Swallow and Wheatear and a few of all three species may well linger into November or even later given adequate food supplies and favourable weather. Finches will still be on the move, especially during quieter spells in the weather - Linnets, Redpolls, Chaffinches and Bramblings are the ones to look out for in particular. Reports of Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warblers are starting to tail off after a great autumn for both species, reaching 4% and 2% of all submitted lists into BirdTrack this month. There were also good numbers of Short-eared Owl reported around Britain.

Short-eared Owl BirdTrack reporting rate

Yellow-browed Warbler BirdTrack reporting rate

The mystery bunting on Orkney was relocated earlier this week and the identification confirmed as Chestnut Bunting. Showing incredibly well at times, this could well be accepted as the first (wild) record for Britain after a series of records currently listed in Category E. One of the species predicted last week did turn up, with a Chimney Swift seen briefly in Cork on Monday.

Grey-cheeked Thrush by Bryan Thomas

The weather looks distinctly mixed for the week ahead, with south to south-easterly winds for southern Britain and continued south-westerlies for Ireland and Scotland. During spells of light winds and clear conditions we might see Woodpigeons move, possibly in large numbers. A series of fast moving low-pressure systems look set to cross the Atlantic later in the first week of November, which may well bring some Nearctic vagrants (Grey-cheeked Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler and Cedar Waxwing). From the east, Asian Desert Warbler or Desert Wheatear are typical late October - early November rarities.

Stephen McAvoy and Paul Stancliffe

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