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.

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Winter visitors and rarities

The emphasis has been very much on drift migrants; birds that are moving south in continental Europe and that get caught up in a weather system that drifts them across the North Sea. These conditions often involve birds such as Red-backed Shrikes, Bluethroats, and Barred Warblers but at this time of the year these are the scarce migrants and they are often accompanied by Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts, Willow Warblers, Whinchats, Lesser Whitethroats and Meadow Pipits. 

Red-backed Shrike by Luke Delve

Now is also the time to keep an eye out for winter visitors, Redwing, Fieldfare and Snow Bunting are all on the cards and, at least here in the east, Siskins are on the move in large numbers, seeking out bird feeders in gardens as they go.

Siskin by Luke Delve

However, the weather for the next week or so looks like it could be dominated by storms that have crossed the Atlantic and we may well see a few birds being brought with it. At this time of the year American Wood Warblers are on the move and it is possible that one or two might get caught up in the weather fronts, Yellow-rumped Warbler is a possibility but who knows, maybe something much rarer could occur; another American Redstart and Blackburnian Warbler is long overdue. Buff-breasted Sandpiper is also an early North American migrant and is probably favourite to turn up.

Blackburnian Warbler by Luke Delve

Our satellite-tagged Cuckoos are now well on their way with the last bird in Europe finally making his way into Africa. Charlie the Cuckoo has finally left Greece and is currently in Libya, embarking on his desert crossing. Coo is also the first to move down to the Congo Rainforest, having left Chad in the last couple of days. Follow the Cuckoos here.

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