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 6 March 2015

Spring migration is under way.

The first summer migrants are here - just. A Wheatear was seen at Portland, Dorset on the 1 March, and Ospreys were reported in Dorset and North Yorkshire on 4 March. So, whilst it isn’t the best showing it could all change very soon.

Wheatear by Amy Lewis

The weather forecast for the next few days is showing a warm pulse of air coming up from southern Europe, with south-south westerly airflow. There is a taste of things to come with reports of plenty of House Martins in southern Spain and Greece, and Swallows moving through the Mediterranean. If the weather does what we are told it is going to, this weekend shows great promise, with Saturday perhaps being the better day. Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sand Martin, and Little Ringed Plover are all early summer migrants to look out for.

Common Gull by Edmund Fellowes

Going the other way, Redwing, Fieldfare, Bewick’s Swan and Brent Geese should begin moving north, and back to their breeding grounds, taking advantage of the tailwind. Early March is also a good time to look out for divers and gulls as they leave their southern wintering areas and head north for the forthcoming breeding season. Gull migration at this time can be spectacular.

For those of us following the BTO satellite tagged Cuckoos, we can see spring is well on its way – three birds have already left their winter locations in the Congo rainforest and are at their stopover sites in West Africa. Later this month, rested and loaded with the fat that will fuel their journeys, they will head north across the Sahara. Fingers crossed for good weather and a safe flight.

Hoopoe by Edmund Fellowes

From a rarity point of view, March is a good month for Gyr Falcon, and with the forecast southerlies, a Hoopoe is always on the cards.

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