It’s not quite the end of the spring migration season – there is still plenty of time for a few surprises yet – but the remarkable sight of over 1,000 Spotted Flycatchers at Portland, Dorset, last weekend probably marks the beginning of the end for visible migration this spring.
Light northerlies here, coupled with a break in the weather further south, provided perfect conditions for those birds still held up on the continent to head north. Accompanying the Spotted Flycatchers were a few Wheatears, Willow Warblers, Whinchats, Reed Warblers and Garden Warblers in what must have been a true natural spectacle.
Whinchat by Ron Marshall
Late-spring rarities were also well represented in the shape of a very short-staying Crested Lark in Kent, a Black-headed Bunting on the Farnes, a new Savi’s Warbler in Devon, three Subalpine Warblers, one Eastern (Portland, Dorset) and two western (Fair Isle, Shetland and Bardsey Island, Gwynedd) and 2013’s first River Warbler (also on Fair Isle, Shetland). Add to this Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark, Red-spotted and White-spotted Bluethroat, Wryneck and a scattering of Bee-eaters and Red-backed Shrikes, it was amongst one of the best weeks this spring for overshooting/drift migrants.
Crested Lark by John Harding
With easterly airflow forecast until at least the early part of next week we could see more of the same but perhaps a top-drawer rarity might accompany them. The east coast ought to be the place to be and a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater would certainly draw a lot of birdwatchers that way.