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 14 September 2018

Migration reaching the peak period

Mid-September to mid-October is peak autumn migration time; this is the period when most birds are on the move, both in and out of the country. It has been estimated that at this time as many as 50 million birds could be on the move.

Meadow Pipit BirdTrack reporting rate

Right now Meadow Pipits and White Wagtails should be moving in force. However, the weather forecast for the next week doesn’t look very conducive to a large movement of any of these birds. We have largely been in westerly airflow for over a week now and it has turned up a few North American birds, White-throated Sparrow on Foula, Shetland, being amongst the highlights. It is difficult to see if this will continue over the next week, Hurricanes Florence, Joyce and Helene are really stirring up the weather in the Atlantic. It does look like the northern half of the country will remain in westerly airflow for longer than the southern half, with air being drawn out of the Labrador Sea bringing the possibility of a few more North American waders, Wilson’s Phalarope and Short-billed Dowitcher could be on the cards.

Whinchat by Mike Weston

In amongst this dynamic weather there will be high-pressure to the south for a little while resulting in fairly calm conditions over the channel, this will allow departing birds to get a move on and we could see hirundines make their last big movement of the year over the weekend, along with a few Yellow Wagtails and Whinchats.

Yellow-browed Warbler by Andy Mason

Even though we have already recorded our first Yellow-browed Warblers (they seem to be getting earlier and earlier) birds wanting to cross the North Sea from the north will have to wait a little longer, and it might be another week or more before we start to see arrivals of Redwings and Chaffinches and movements of Linnets and Redpolls.

Leach's Petrel BirdTrack reporting rate

It looks like the western half of the country will be the place to be. Sabine’s Gulls, Grey Phalaropes and Leach’s Petrels might all put in a performance, along with a few skuas and divers.

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