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, 5 October 2012

Get ready to welcome some winter visitors


As the low pressure to the south of us moves away to the east, high pressure will take its place over the weekend, bringing with it much lighter winds and a change in the direction of those winds, from westerly to south easterly, at least for the latter part of the weekend.

Redwing by John Harding

These lighter winds and the direction change could result in the largest arrivals of some of our winter visitors so far this autumn. Bramblings, Redwings, Fieldfares, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds should all feature. So, this weekend could be a good weekend to take part in the BTO Winter Thrushes Survey.
Pink-footed Goose numbers should also build this weekend and anyone with access to the east coast could see Red-throated Divers on the move. 

Jays are still on the move, at least 278 were reported over Cley, Norfolk, on 4 October, and birds continue to be seen in unusual numbers and in unusual places. The BirdTrack reporting rate for Jay routinely climbs at this time of year. However, the reporting rate for the first week of October was the highest in 8 years of BirdTrack records. The majority are likely to be native birds dispersing from breeding areas in search of food.

Blue Tit by Liz Cutting

Across the North Sea, Blue Tits have been on the move in unprecedented numbers. On 1 October, 87,400 were counted migrating from Nabben, Falsterbo, Sweden. To get a taste of this take a look at this short video. It seems that the Beech seed crop has failed in northern Europe, so this year could see a Brambling winter. Perhaps a sign of things to come, was a flock of 90 Brambling on Fair Isle, Shetland, last week.

Brambling by John Harding

With news of the Western Palearctic’s first ever Eastern Kingbird at Inishmore, Galway, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler on Dursey Island, Cork, who knows what other North American birds are waiting to be found. Whether looking for lost waifs and strays or counting visible migration, this weekend promises to be an interesting one.

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