The weather forecast for this weekend should provide plenty of opportunity for migrant birds wanting to get moving and for those birdwatchers in search of them.
It isn’t going to be a classic forecast for continental migrants to get drifted here but it does have some promise. High pressure will be over Scandinavia for at least the next day or two, which will bring a hint of easterly airflow towards Britain and, any birds tempted by the good conditions to the north east of us might find themselves over the North Sea and heading towards our shores.
Red-backed Shrike by Neil Calbrade
At this time of the autumn we could be looking at the arrival of Wheatears, Whinchats and Redstarts, and perhaps the first Pink-footed Geese and Fieldfare. Amongst the scarce migrants, Barred Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Red-backed Shrike and Wryneck are all classic early autumn arrivals.
Whinchat BirdTrack reporting rate
Redstart BirdTrack reporting rate
At sea, terns will also be on the move, Arctic and Common movements can be spectacular right now, and can include the occasional Black and Roseate Terns. These tern movements are inevitably followed by skuas and now is a good time to look out for the odd Long-tailed Skua amongst the Arctics.
Long-tailed Skua by Joe Pender
At least in the southern half of Britain the winds look to be light and at times from the north. This may well be the trigger for a large movement of Swallows and House Martins out of the country and we might all notice fewer of them around during next week.
The northern isles will be blasted by westerlies that have tracked across the Atlantic in the last day or so. These winds might bring something from North America with them, and if they do it might be something very special this early in the season. Of the ten accepted British records of Yellow Warbler half have occurred at the end of August, with the most recent being a two-day bird at Portland, Dorset in 2017. From the east the only 2 records of Little Whimbrel have been at the end of August, fingers crossed for a third!