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 9 October 2015

Lesser Redpoll by Trevor Codlin

When buntings and finches are on the move you know that autumn migration is well underway. Flocks of the former, including good numbers of Goldfinch, Redpolls, Siskin and Linnet have been reported flying over several migration watchpoints from across Britain during the week, with a few Bramblings joining them. Reed Buntings and Yellowhammer have also been on the move. Peak migration for most of our finches and buntings is around mid-October so we can expect a lot more to come, and with high-pressure over Scandinavia and relatively light easterly winds, at least for the southern half of Britain, forecast for this weekend, we could see more finches, buntings and, on the move and some spectacular visible migration over the next few days. Swallows and House Martins will still be on the move along with Chiffchaffs and to a lesser extent, Willow Warblers.

Wildfowl will also continue to move and we could see Pink-footed, Barnacle and Brent Geese on the move in good numbers, along with some Whooper Swans and possibly Bewick’s Swans. Good numbers of the latter were recorded flying over Falsterbo, Sweden during the middle of the week.

Richard's Pipit BirdTrack reporting rate

With 12 reports throughout Britain and Ireland on Thursday and several more today (including on at least two ships), one of the top species to keep an eye out for this weekend is Richard's Pipit. Most records are of fly-overs, so it is a good idea to listen to the distinctive call ( before heading out. Coastal records predominate in BirdTrack, but there is also good scattering of reports from inland sites.

Lapland Bunting by Dawn Balmer

Lapland Bunting BirdTrack reporting rate

Another species regularly recorded as fly-overs only is Lapland Bunting ( Mid-October is the peak reporting time in BirdTrack, just about reaching 1% of all lists. A bit more exciting to look at than fly-over pipits and buntings, mid-October is also good to look for migrant Great Grey Shrikes. With a bit of luck, you could even see one trying to catch arriving Yellow-browed Warblers or other passerines.
Great Grey shrike BirdTrack reporting rate
Finally, with Hurricane Joaquin veering south-east to Iberia, arrivals of vagrants from North America look less likely now, so the top-tip for this weekend has to be something Siberian/Asian. How about Taiga or Brown Flycatcher?

Paul Stancliffe and Stephen McAvoy

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