There are still a few Swallows and House Martins around, and both species were recorded on migration watches on the east coast this weekend,heading south of course.
Although we were expecting birds from the east this weekend, it was the rarities that grabbed the headlines with the multiple arrival of Pallas’s and Yellow-browed Warblers. At least eleven of the former and around thirty of the latter were found between Shetland and Scilly. A Steppe Grey-Shrike also turned up in Shropshire but is was Hertfordshire that set rarity hunters pulses racing with the appearance in a mist net of Britain’s second ever Eastern Crowned Warbler. Sadly, upon release this bird was not seen again. Eastern Crowned Warbler breeds from eastern Siberia through to south-eastern China, Korea and Japan, and winters in south-east Asia south to Indonesia.
With the wind set to turn easterly again from mid-week we could be in for another busy weekend. With light north-easterlies forecast for Saturday Woodpigeons should begin to move across the country. This can at times be spectacular with flocks of birds tens-of thousands strong heading south-west. Nobody is quite sure where these birds are coming from but one popular theory is that the majority of these birds are continental birds that are cutting the corner on their way to France.
Pochard and Goldeneye may well also take the conditions as a cue to get moving, although temperatures are still quite high in Eastern Europe, so we might have to wait until these drop before we see any appreciable movement of these diving ducks.
The weather conditions ought to be good for Starlings and Woodcock too, and who knows we may yet see more far-eastern waifs and strays.