Chiffchaffs and Wheatears are arriving and beginning to filter north but the fairly strong northerly winds have effectively slowed migration down. Most of the other expected late March migrants have been thin on the ground too. There have only been a handful of Ring Ouzels, Swallows, Willow Warblers and Stone Curlews reported so far.
Stone Curlew by P Doherty
Meadow Pipit migration has had its moments but is still slow, and overhead visible migration of ‘alba’ wagtails has been almost non-existent.One of the few early migrants to buck the trend is Garganey, with around forty birds reported and at least one making it as far north as Manchester. Ospreys have trickled in, a handful of which have already made it back to Scottish territories, and a small number of intrepid Willow Warblers have been seen and heard, along with one or two Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits.
Yellow Wagtail by Jill Pakenham
Things are definitely pushing up from the south though and there have been three overshooting southern European birds this week, two Black Kites in Kent and a Hoopoe in Ireland but it is going to take a serious change in the weather before the floodgates really open.
The weather forecast for the next week, strong westerlies and some serious rainfall at times, isn’t looking too promising either, at least until the middle of next week but should we get the odd quiet spell we could well see the floodgates open a little, and if they do, expect Willow Warblers, Blackcaps Ring Ouzels and Stone Curlews to start appearing on territory.
The weather might not be so hard on those birds heading out across the North Sea and we could see movements of Brent Geese, Wigeon, Whooper Swans, Redwings and Fieldfares, amongst others this week.
Male Redhead by Jill Pakenham
On the rarity front, my bet is still with a rare duck, or two. A Redhead would help to redress the balance of records lost to the recent British Birds Rarity Committee review – only one record now stands, a male seen in Nottinghamshire on 8-27 March 1996.