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 2 May 2014

Look north and east this week

It has been an interesting week this week with a few what might have been expected southern overshoots. At least twelve different Hoopoes, a couple of Purple Herons and several Black-winged Stilts, along with several Wrynecks and Red-rumped Swallows but I’m not sure anyone would have predicted the superb male Cretzschmar’s Bunting that was found on Fair Isle, Shetland, or the Alpine Accentor that was found in North Norfolk, as late April birds.

Alpine Accentor by John Harding

The BTO satellite-tagged Cuckoos have begun to arrive back at their tagging sites. Skinner was the first, arriving back in Norfolk on 22 April but has since been followed by Chris, BB and Whortle. This is the culmination of a 4,000 mile, 3 month journey from Congo. Check them out here

Many of our migrants have now arrived in good numbers, particularly the warblers. Blackcaps and Whitethroats seem to be everywhere; well at least they do here in Norfolk. However, there does seem to be fewer Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins around; perhaps they are being held up by poor weather further south. Northern Spain and southern France do seem to be getting more than their fair share of cool, wet weather this spring, or maybe the cold spring last year took more of a toll than was thought.

Singing Blackcap by Adrian Dancy

Swifts didn’t really arrive during the week but as high pressure moves in from the north the resulting light winds should be perfect for a mass arrival, and the east coast could be the place to be. On Sunday and Monday the high pressure will extend from Yorkshire to North Africa, so more southern overshoots can be expected. Rock Thrush is a classic early May bird, as is Red-footed Falcon.

Rock Thrush by Nick Moran

During the early part of next week, the northern part of Britain will be hit by a run of weather fronts that have crossed the Atlantic, so as May is one of the best months to see an American sparrow on this side of the Atlantic, White-throated Sparrow is on the cards, and probably on Shetland.

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