Friday 7 March 2014

Get ready for an arrival of Chiffchaff

The last week has been fairly quiet migration wise, largely as a result of a fairly stiff westerly airflow, and the fact that it is still quite early in the season. However, a few summer visitors did manage to find their way here. At least four Ospreys were seen during the week, all in southern counties, and at least two more Garganey joined the couple that were here from the week before, along with a handful of Sand Martins.

Osprey by Luke Delve

With high pressure forecast to and warm southerly air forecast for Saturday we could see the first noticeable push of migrants into the UK and Chiffchaff has to be the favourite species to lead the way. At present we are in week ten of the year and the BirdTrack historical reporting rate shows that Chiffchaff begins to rise rapidly from week 11 (see below), so the timing couldn’t be better. 

ChiffChaff reported to week 10 (blue), historical (red)

The warm sunny and relatively still conditions are forecast to run well into next week too and, with high pressure stretching all the way from North Africa to northern Britain, we could see the odd Mediterranean overshoot. It is a little early but Hoopoe and Alpine Swift could be on the cards.

Migrants leaving the UK will also be able to take advantage of the light winds and good conditions and we should see an exodus of many of our winter visitors over the next few days. A migration watchpoint will definitely be the place to be over the next few days.

March is also the month when gulls are on the move and this was in evidence at Christchurch Harbour yesterday (6 March) when two Iceland Gulls, a Glaucous Gull, thirty-four Mediterranean Gulls, two Little Gulls and 98 Common Gulls were counted moving west past the site.

Mediterranean Gull by Andy Mason

Pelagic Birder who is currently off the coast of Ghana is reporting a large movement of skuas, mainly Pomarine but also involving Arctic and Long-tailed and a good numbers of Black Tern.

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