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.

Thursday 31 May 2018

Has the 2018 spring migration come to an end?

There is a general feeling that numbers of some of our long-distance summer migrants are still on
the low side, despite an arrival of birds in the easterly airflow at the weekend. Up until the last few
days birds such as Swift, House Martin and Swallow were indeed running late with numbers
looking poor too, but with suitable conditions during the Bank Holiday weekend they have caught
up somewhat. However, it is looking unlikely that they will reach their historical averages on the
BirdTrack reporting rate graphs.
Reporting rate graph for House Martin

Reporting rate graph for Swift

Reporting rate graph for Swallow

Even though we are at the end of May there is still time for a few migrants to arrive. We could
still see birds such as Spotted Flycatcher on the move, and maybe a last pulse of Swifts, although
if we don’t see the latter in the next week it is difficult to see any more arriving after that and it
might just be a low year for Swifts. Nightjar is one of the last of our migrants to arrive and now is
a good time to come across one at a daytime roost. On migration they don’t always pick the best
site and can be seen almost anywhere.
A day roosting Nightjar. Scott Mayson

Quail is a very hit and miss bird in Britain, with huge variation between years but in some years
we see hardly any at all until the first week of June. On any warm, still evening during the next
couple of weeks it is worth getting out and listening around the edge of cereal fields and listening
out for the distinctive ‘wet my lips’ call of the Quail.
Reporting rate graph for Quail, now is the time of year to listen for them.

The weather looks like it is forecast to be all over the place for at least the next four or five day
but does include a continuation of easterly airflow for the next day or so before a period of light
winds from the north west. For any birds still held up this should provide them with a window of
opportunity, and we might see a small movement of House Martins and Swallows. We could also
see some waders on the move, such as Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper. This is also a great time
for rarer wader, Terek Sandpiper could be on the cards but a Marsh Sandpiper would do nicely.
Paul Stancliffe

Scott Mayson

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