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 8 March 2013

A steady trickle of summer migrants

Light winds across much of southern Europe have been the norm this week and a few hardy summer migrants have taken advantage of them and made the final push north. There have been a small number of Swallows, Sand Martins and Wheatears reported but the most noticeable arrival has been White Wagtails. Around forty turned up on the Isles of Scilly at the start of the week, with small numbers also arriving along the south coast to Hampshire.

White Wagtail by Scilly Spider

Southern overshoots were represented again in the form of a Hoopoe that arrived on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly but with the weather deteriorating, showers are forecast for much of Spain and France over the next couple of days, it seems likely that the door will be closed for summer migrants - at last in the short-term.  It is still very early in the season and any birds that have made it to the Mediterranean coasts will stay put until the weather improves. So, whilst the migration brakes will be put on by next week’s cold front, when we return to spring-like weather again we could well see a sudden rush of birds that have been held back.

Hoopoe on St Agnes by Paul Stancliffe

Those birds heading back across the North Sea will also find it difficult, at least until the early part of next week when the stiff easterly winds are forecast to subside a little. We could see Redwings and Fieldfares moving back into gardens over the next few days, joining the Bramblings and Siskins that are already there.

March is the month when gulls are on the move. With very cold temperatures further north and a cold easterly airflow, we might see a small upsurge in the number of Glaucous and Iceland Gulls around our coasts. 

Glaucous Gull by Peter M Wilson

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