Unsurprisingly it has been fairly quiet on the migration
front this week and, with the exception of a reasonable showing of Pomarine Skuas moving through, there
has been nothing much to report. However, as we are now into the winter period
any serious drop in the temperature on the continent could result in a series
of cold weather movements.
We could see a further arrival of Rough-legged Buzzards
and, who knows, maybe a Snowy Owl
reporting rate shows what an exceptional year
it already is for Rough-legged Buzzard.
If it is cold enough, and waterbodies in Eastern
Europe freeze over, we ought to see wildfowl on the move, Tufted Duck, Pochard
numbers could swell, and we might even see a good showing of Smew
. Bewick’s Swans
have been thin on the ground the last few winters
but this could change with freezing conditions on the continent.
BirdTrack Rough-legged Buzzard reporting rate
In these conditions
can also be forced across the North Sea. In some years more
than a million Snipe make their way here. For more on this read the Demog Blog
A small number of Waxwings
were found in the north and east during the week and a small number of Little Auks
were on the move, hinting
at what might be if we do get a sudden cold snap further north.
The forecast for at least the next few days is for it to remain
mild, with a largely easterly airflow, which is good news for the handful of Swallows, Wheatears
and warblers that
are still in the country, we should also see further arrivals of Starlings
and winter thrushes (Redwings, Fieldfares
on the east coast. There
is a hint of things cooling down for the latter part of the week, and if we do
get any ground frosts we might see Lapwings
and Golden Plovers
on the move.
I received an email this morning from a friend who is
working on a survey vessel 100 miles out in the North Sea, showing just how difficult the
North Sea crossing can be even for the toughest of birds.
Hi Paul - a couple of hours ago 3 Bean Geese
flew past my
ship - we are more or less stationary- just riding out a nasty easterly F8/F9
gale. I lost the birds from view but 20 minutes later after battling the 33
knot easterly they returned. After circling the ship 3 times they managed a
very rough and dangerous landing on the deck- after clattering and skidding
into some stowed kit they shook themselves off, inspected their feet, did a
brief preen then started roosting! I'm amazed they managed such a difficult
landing in such a small deck space in 6-8 metre seas as well as the gale force
Tundra Bean Geese by Andy Williams
I have some concerns about takeoff with lots of obstacles in
the way but hopefully the weather will settle down tomorrow- I imagine they
will stay put overnight as no one is allowed on deck on these seas.
These geese were extremely lucky and fingers crossed, they
make it off the deck and on their way as soon as conditions improve - there
must be lots of birds that get caught out over the sea that are far less
lucky. Check out Pelagic Birder's