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.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

A mixed bag for Migrants

As a series of weather fronts arrive from the west over the next few days, the winds will swing from west to east and back to west several times during the course of the week. Southern counties are forecast to bear the brunt of the westerly airflow, whilst the north will receive the lion’s share of the easterly winds.

This mixed bag of weather could bring something for all of us. With most of the country experiencing winds with some east in them on Wednesday afternoon/Thursday morning, this could be the time to get out and observe migrants on the move. Swallows and House Martins continue to move apace; both of have produced some late broods (see Stuart Winter's article) this year so numbers on the move might remain a little higher for a bit longer than is usual for the time of year.

Fieldfare by Jill Pakenham

During the past week Redwings have arrived in force in the north but numbers in the south still remain quite low, this could change as we go into the weekend. Fieldfares are running late, as evidenced by the BirdTrack reporting rate. However, during the relatively calmer conditions between weather fronts this could change and we could see a large arrival of these impressive thrushes. A perfect time for another walk for the BTO Winter Thrushes Survey!

Finches and buntings should begin to move, with a change in focus from Goldfinch to Chaffinch. An increase in the number of redpolls should also be evident too. Lapland and Snow Buntings will be the buntings to look out for on the east and northeast coasts, whilst Reed Buntings ought to feature in good numbers in migration counts along the east and south coasts.

 Common Nighthawk by Bryan Thomas

With the whole of the country experiencing strong onshore winds at some time during the week a seawatch could pay dividends for those so inclined. Gannet will be the main feature but Arctic, Pomarine and Great Skuas, along with late Common, Arctic, and Sandwich Terns could move through. Red-throated Diver numbers will continue to build, and smaller numbers of Black-throated and Great Northern Divers can be expected as well. Regarding rarities, birds from both the west and east should be on the cards. Common Nighthawk from the west and Siberian Thrush from the east would fit the bill nicely.

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