Friday 31 May 2013

The last few days of spring?

The last few days of May and diminishing returns from visible migration watchers usually marks the beginning of the end for spring migration. However, right now spring migration is still well under way.

House Martins are still being seen arriving in the low hundreds; 226 were counted passing overhead during a 90 minute sample count at Portland Bill, Dorset on 29 May;  these birds were also accompanied by good numbers of Swifts. The number of Spotted Flycatchers is more in keeping with mid-May than the end of May; looking at the BirdTrack reporting rate we can expect a few more yet.

BirdTrack reporting rate for Spotted Flycatcher

Southern and eastern overshoots have been much in evidence this week. Red-backed Shrike led the way with over fifty being reported, followed by Common Rosefinch, which were reported from Devon to Shetland, involving as many as twenty individuals.  A supporting cast of four each of Woodchat Shrike and Short-toed Lark, three Hoopoe and several Wrynecks were upstaged by a European Roller in Hampshire, the first there since 1987.

Red-backed Shrike by N. E. Wildlife

Top-drawer rarity value was added by a White-throated Sparrow in a private garden in Lincolnshire and a Balearic Woodchat Shrike in Orkney.

With high-pressure set to dominate over the weekend and into at least the early part of next week, the resultant relatively light northerlies and warmer temperatures could mean more of the same bird-wise, perhaps with the addition of some bird of prey movement that could include Honey-buzzards and maybe a Black Kite or two.

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