Strong westerlies, particularly those associated with fast tracking storms that cross the Atlantic in a day or so often bring North American birds with them, and this weekend’s storm did just that; over thirty Buff-breasted Sandpipers arrived in the UK during the weekend. This high Arctic breeding wader leaves its breeding grounds in Alaska and western Canada during August and September, heading for the Paraguayan and Argentinian pampas. The eastern breeding birds complete this huge migration in one long flight over the sea from New England to Paraguay and Argentina, so are often prone to getting caught up in these fast tracking storms. The winds also brought the first American passerine to our shores, a Red-eyed Vireo, to the Isles of Scilly. This bird would have been making its way to northern South America or Cuba.
Red-eyed Vireo above by Joe Pender