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, 4 December 2015

Goldfinches still on the move

Goldfinch migration has been one of the highlights of this autumn, and it is still ongoing. Usually, it should have drawn to a close by this stage, with birds arriving at their wintering sites in southern Europe and North Africa. But they are still on the move and being counted at some migration watchpoints - 280 were counted moving past Hengistbury Head, Dorset and 520 past Portland, Dorset in the last few days.

The recent wild weather seems to caused some diver movement along the coast, with many sites noting Red-throated and Great Northern Divers passing offshore. The BirdTrack graph shows a notable spike in Great Northern records in mid-November - possibly birds arriving from elsewhere? Some birds also moved close to shore in search of sheltered waters, giving excellent views.

BirdTrack reporting rate for Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver (Nick Moran)
A few Swallows are still hanging around, braving the recent poor weather. However, there have no further sightings of House Martins since the end of November. One or two Yellow-browed Warblers are still being noted in western Cornwall and may stay on if the weather remains mild in the next few months.

After a rush of sightings in October and early November, Brambling and Great Grey Shrikes appear to have moved on with reporting rates about average on BirdTrack. Waxwing numbers appear to be building slowly, with small flocks noted in East Anglia and along the north coast in recent days. More settled conditions with winds coming from the east would probably encourage more to arrive, but the weather models are currently predicting no let-up in the storms arriving in off the Atlantic.

Paul Stancliffe and Stephen McAvoy

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