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 May 2017

Wind stuck in the north

With the wind stuck in the north migration has slowed a little but not come to a halt. Fortunately there has been varying degrees of east in the wind and this has resulted in what could be described as a Black Tern week, with birds being reported from many wetland and seawatching sites across the country.

Black Tern by Lawrence G Baxter
What is really obvious is the lack of Swifts. A small number have arrived but the usual mass arrival during the first few days of May hasn’t happened. The stiff northerlies are definitely blocking a mass arrival at the moment but as soon as conditions allow we should be in for an impressive movement of these amazing birds, this may well happen midweek when, if the forecasters are correct, we will experience a short period of light southerly winds.

This will also allow some of our later spring migrants to arrive too, and it is well worth looking out for Spotted Flycatchers. For those lucky enough to have easy access to the coast skuas, in particular Pomarine Skuas, will be on the move, along with more Black Terns, Little Gulls and Arctic Terns. South-easterlies are the ideal conditions for these and we might just be lucky midweek.

Pomarine Skua by Jo Pender
Now is the time to catch-up with a few waders as they make their way north, in particular Whimbrel, Dotterel and Wood Sandpiper.

Dotterel by Edmund Fellowes
We are just coming into the period when some of our scarcer migrants move and the right now is a great time to look out for Golden Orioles, Red-backed Shrikes and Wrynecks.

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