Friday 28 March 2014

The floodgates could open this weekend

With a warm south-easterly airflow forecast for the next few days, the scene is set for a rush of long-distance migrants to arrive. Chiffchaffs have trickled in steadily during the last week but this weekend should see the floodgates open.  Along with Chiffchaffs we should see a rush of Blackcaps, Sand Martins, Swallows and Ring Ouzels.

Blackcap by Adrian Dancy

The BTO satellite tagged Cuckoos are still in West Africa but will be getting ready to cross the Sahara any day now. Chris the Cuckoo was the first to do this on 4 April last year. So, of the eleven birds that we are following any one of them could move any day now. Check them out here. Knowing this, it came as a surprise when the vis mig watchers at Hengistbury Head, Dorset, saw a Cuckoo coming in off the sea on 27 March. Maybe there will be more during the next week taking advantage of the forecast weather.

Cuckoo by Steve Ashton

Although a good variety of species of summer migrants have already been recorded this spring, we should see this increase rapidly during the next week and there could well be some interesting birds too. It is still a little early but I wouldn’t be too surprised if the odd Bluethroat was found and, even though it is not traditionally a spring bird, Rustic Bunting is not unprecedented at this time of the year, bearing in mind the forecast conditions.

Bluethroat by Amy Lewis

Any lingering winter visitors should also clear out during the next week, so we could see odd flocks of Redwing, Fieldfare and ducks, geese and swans on the move too. It could be well worth checking out those inland lakes, gravel pits and reservoirs for a scoter or two.

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