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.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Migration stepping up – guest blog by Ben Moyes

In terms of migrating birds in the UK, it’s a similar story to last week, with several Shearwaters being seen on the south-west coast and Isles of Scilly, including a very rare Fea’s Petrel amongst the Great, Cory’s, Manx and occasional Balearic Shearwaters.

Fea’s Petrel by Joe Pender 

There are also still a some Skua’s being seen of coastal points, with Arctic and Great Skua’s being the most abundant, but Pomarine Skua’s are still being a seen with a couple of Long-tailed Skua’s starting to be seen.

Waders are still on the move across the country, with more Wood Sandpipers, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint being seen, with the odd rarity mixed in, as White-rumped, Spotted and Baird’s Sandpiper have been seen this last week across the UK.

Little Stint by Tommy Holden

As autumn has really climbed a lot closer (if it isn’t here already), passerines are coming through, with 138 sightings of Redstart, 177 of Pied Flycatcher, 21 of Wood Warbler and 258 of Whinchat. A few scarcities have been seen too, with a small number Icterine and Barred Warblers, Red-backed Shrikes, Wrynecks, and even a Bluethroat has been sighted.

Redstart by John Harding

Our Hirundines are starting to pack their bags, but some have already headed off, with several Swifts being seen flying high south past coastal bird observatories, with over 4000 past Landguard, Suffolk in one morning. As for Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins, they are feeding up ready for the big journey south to Africa.

Another migrant bird in the UK is the Osprey. They have already bred in Scotland, Wales and some parts of England, but are now on their way south to their wintering grounds in Africa. In the past week or so, there have been 64 sightings of Osprey across the UK, so there are definitely signs of migration happening right now.

Osprey by Hugh Insley

As for the week ahead, the winds are staying a constant South, South-Westerly, so you can expect more sightings of Shearwaters along the south west coast, but in terms of migrants, maybe we will see some more Pied Fly’s, Redstarts and Whinchats, but the weather isn't looking promising for any rarities along the east coast, but you never know! On the scarce and rarer front, maybe a few more Wilsons Petrels that have been sighted on the Isles of Scilly Pelagics and south-west Ireland, or maybe even a rare Shearwater, like a Macaronesian Shearwater or another Fea’s Type Petrel.

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