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.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Not so swift

The strong east/north-easterly winds that were very much a feature of the weekend put paid to the mass arrival of Swifts, it did however, ground a few migrants at south coast watchpoints. Three-hundred Willow Warblers and one-hundred Wheatears were seen on Portland, Dorset over the weekend.

The strong winds did push Bar-tailed Godwits close to the south coast. The first Pomarine Skuas were seen and unprecedented numbers of Wood Sandpipers arrived at east coast sites; there were ten together on a pool at Holme, Norfolk, with over two-hundred arriving across the country. Dotterel were also seen at several sites from the Scilly Isles to the Outer Hebrides.

Above:  Wood Sandpiper (foreground) by John Black

Above: Dotterel by Edmund Fellowes

Rarities from the south and east arrived, with up to three Red-footed Falcons in Norfolk, a White-winged Black Tern in Suffolk and several Wrynecks in the south and east. New Bee-eaters were seen in Dorset and Kent, and four Black-winged Stilts were seen in Essex.

So what have we got to look forward to over the next few days? There ought to be good seabird passage off the west coast, with tern and skua numbers beginning to build. Temminck's Stints are on the cards on the east coast, and as the winds begin to lessen and turn more southerly, we should see those Swifts arriving. A Rock Thrush on the east coast would also be nice.

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