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 26 April 2013

The migration floodgates open

Migration stepped up a gear this week on all fronts. Common migrants arrived in many parts of the UK and, in good numbers for the first time this spring. Reed and Sedge Warblers were recorded back on their breeding territories, Whitethroat numbers began to build up and a few more cuckoos were heard. Check out the BTO website for some exciting Cuckoo news.

Spotted Flycatcher by Ron Marshall

Swifts traditionally arrive en-masse during the last few days of April and the first few days of May. With the number of reports growing through the week it looks like they could be true to form. Spotted Flycatcher is also has a late April arrival and as if to prove a point Portland Bill, Dorset, enjoyed their first birds this morning.

Short-toed Lark by Ron Marshall

Black Terns have also been moving through the country in small numbers but it is the scarce and rare migrants that have stolen the show this week. At least four Subalpine Warblers, ten Woodchat Shrikes, ten Serins and eight Hoopoes were found, along with a couple of Short-toed Larks, five Red-rumped Swallows, two Citrine Wagtails and three singing Iberian Chiffchaffs. Star of the show has to be the female Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush that was found at Spurn, East Yorkshire on 25 April.

Our winter visitors also managed to get away as shown by the BirdTrack graphs below.

Alpine Accentor by John Harding
The weather forecast for this weekend promises to slow things down a little. However, very light winds across most of France and southern Britain on Sunday could hold some promise.  As southerly overshoots are the order of the day an Alpine Accentor would be nice.

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