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Spring bird migration highlights - 15 April

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 14:45 UK time, Friday, 15 April 2011

The exciting migration we had the week before last stalled this week. At least it did on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"A strong north-westerly wind set in, making it extremely difficult for birds heading north to make any headway," says migration expert Paul Stancliffe from the BTO.

There were still plenty of highlights though, including the first golden oriole of the year on Monday in Devon, an Iberian chiffchaff in Norfolk, two red-rumped swallows in Kent and two bee-eaters in East Yorkshire.

More hoopoes were seen too. Paul thinks this could prove to be one of the best springs ever for this beautiful overshooting migrant. This very morning we had a picture of one in Anglesey posted in the Springwatch photo group.

On Thursday things picked up. "The wind turned southerly and dropped in strength," says Paul. "This was the signal for birds to begin moving again. With this in mind I got out in search of grounded migrants at Dungeness in Kent.

He didn't experience a classic rush of migrants but did find plenty of grounded migrants where the day before there had been none. "My tally included 20 common whitethroats, 15 willow warblers, six wheatears, and single lesser whitethroat, redstart and ring ouzel," he says.

"On the sea common scoters were actively migrating east through the Channel. In one hour I counted 217. Terns were also moving in the same direction with the same hour producing 120 sandwich terns and 65 common terns. All of these birds will be making their way into the North Sea, heading for breeding grounds around its shores. The movement also included three red-throated divers, four red-breasted mergansers and 70 gannets."

Paul predicts the wind will remain in the south this weekend so migration should pick up pace again. Maybe another rush is on the cards with lots of common migrants and a few more southern overshoots arriving.

The wind might have more east in it than last weekend, so the east coast could see the best of the action: more bluethroats and possible an early red-backed shrike or two.

If you're out and about this weekend and see any migrants we'd love to hear so please post a comment below. Likewise if you see anything strange or particularly early this weekend the Springwatch Easter Special team would love to hear.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I caught a nice photo of a Sandwich Tern in flight with a sand eel in the beak at the weekend, near Brownsea island in Poole harbour, Dorset. I guess it was a pairing/mating ritual present rather than food for chicks this early in the year. http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevejm2009/5627877791/

  • Comment number 2.

    We have a male pied flycatcher looking in a nest box. He has been around since 6 Apr. We are 700ft. up in the centre of w. Devon.

  • Comment number 3.

    I saw 3 wheatears, on the downs near Ventnor radar station. The first this year.

  • Comment number 4.

    The Grasshopper warbler has been present in Romsey Hampshire. Also shoveler ducks too

  • Comment number 5.

    WE HEARD A CUCKOO CALLING AT THORNHAM NORTH NORFOLK TODAY 23RD APRIL

  • Comment number 6.

    Saw my first 2 swifts this year patrolling the sky today in High Barnet, North London. Brilliant sight, but they didn't hang around too long as they flew northeast.

  • Comment number 7.

    Friday at brockenhurst we saw and heard a lapwing near the balmerlawn area. What a odd sounding bird it sounded like a radio control toy. Also heard woodpeckers and cuckoo.
    Saturday saw some deer near Lyndhurst not sure what type they were. Also heard a cuckoo.

  • Comment number 8.

    Heard a cuckoo today 24 April at Garth near Cilcain on the path to Offa's Dyke.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi there all,

    It's great to read about your sightings and who is arriving in Britain for the spring/summer. Up here in Estonia, we are seeing hundreds of geese in the skies most days, starlings, cranes, eagles and both black and white storks have begun to arrive with some already laying eggs.

    Capercaillie are lekking, bumblebees are buzzing, bears are out of their dens and frogs are rising from their muddy winter slumber (and risking their lives crossing busy roads!). Soon the coasts and meadows will be alive with thousands more spring migrants.

    It truly is an exciting time of the year!

    Geoff from Wild Estonia Weekly http://wildestonia.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 10.

    Willow Warbler spotted in our garden on Sunday last (17/04/2011). Plymouth Devon

  • Comment number 11.

    We were in Portland Bill on Saturday 23rd April and had the pleasure of watching 2 Peregrine Falcons scouring the cliffs and then perching on them close to the migrating birds including Shags, Guillemots, Fulmars

  • Comment number 12.

    24/04/11 Heard the cuckoo for the first time, and most exciting, had a hoopoe in the garden in east sussex.

  • Comment number 13.

    Sand martins on the 20th/04/2011 at Hoe rough- Norfolk
    Spoonbill at Cley (NWT Norfolk) 14/04/2011
    Swallows, house martins and sand martins coming in off the sea (weybourne, Norfolk) 24/04/2011
    Fulmars coming to cliffs (Weybourne Norfolk)

  • Comment number 14.

    We saw 4 swallows in the Vale of Glamorgan , near Pendoylan , on 24th April .

  • Comment number 15.

    We heard our first cuckoo of the year whilst climbing the Preseli Mountains in Pembrokshire, South West Wales, on April 19th. We also spotted swallows arriving that week too!

  • Comment number 16.

    Saw a cuckoo on 12th April nr St Davids, Pembrokeshire. lovely Spring sighting!!

  • Comment number 17.

    My Dad said he had about twenty Waxwings land in his field on the 22nd April in Whepstead Near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

  • Comment number 18.

    A thousand apologies for going off topic but would it be possible for anyone to tell me what the wonderful piece of classical music playing at about 2038 was when Bill Oddie was doing his piece on 'silver-surfing'? Many thanks.

  • Comment number 19.

    Brandon Marsh near Coventry saw my first Cuckoo of spring sitting calling in the old dead tree near to the kingfisher hide. also a Pied Flycatcher on the large reed beds at the rear of the reserve

  • Comment number 20.

    hi from sunny tunstall, we are seeing alot more sand martins this year, has they are nesting in the cliffs on the beach, last year there was about thirty nests this year so far theres is about fifty.swifts are arriving to,and we have had 4pairs of bluetits coming to the birdfeeders now they are nesting in our boxes and also in boxes on a couple of trees ,we have had also blackbirds nest in our shed couldnt beleive they got in through a small hole in the back of it. my hubby thinks im silly cos i get so excited when it comes to birds and wildlife i just love it and all my money i save go on feeding them ,and he builds the boxes.im just worrying this year i havent seen my greenfiniches so far please could you tell me is it to early xxx

  • Comment number 21.

    16th April. Three female and one male Wheatear's seen at Portishead, Bristol, very close to the marina area. The male came within 10 yards of where we stood watching them, a lovely bird.

  • Comment number 22.

    i saw a orange tip butterfly at Ladybank Bowling Club Fife, Sunday 24th April

  • Comment number 23.

    I had a redstart in my garden in Mudeford (Dorset) at 9.15am on 8th April 2011. I am about 100 yards from the sea, so assume it was resting after migrating across the Channel. Does anyone know where they migrate from please?

  • Comment number 24.

    I had a jay in my garden this morning plus,I also swa two swallows!

  • Comment number 25.

    Heard my first cuckoo of the year on 22 April, whilst walking the dogs over fields between Harpenden and Luton

  • Comment number 26.

    We haven't seen a swallow in North Shropshire yet. This is at least a week later than usual. I did see one just south of Shrewsbury yesterday, but this situation seems very strange given the good weather and southerly winds.

  • Comment number 27.

    Several Blackcaps and Chiff chaffs around the Ipswich area at present also in the past three weeks more than usual Adders and Grass Snakes seen in the Rendlesham Forest area

  • Comment number 28.

    We saw an orange tip butterfly in garden near Watton Norfolk on Sunday 24th April, not seen one before!

  • Comment number 29.

    4 Shore Larks spotted at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Sunday 24th April

  • Comment number 30.

    I had a Hummingbird Hawk Moth in my garden in Mid Devon about 2 to 3 weeks ago feasting on the nectar of my early flowers. I've never seen one this early before!

  • Comment number 31.

    I am shocked to see fox cubs for sale in my local paper under the pet section. Is this legal?

  • Comment number 32.

    my son Aston 9 years is a keen birder and has been staying at his nan's on Canvey Island 17th-28th April and has seen/heard 2 male cuckoo's which makes his bird life list up to 179!

  • Comment number 33.

    @Adamsito I'll try to find out for you. Might have to wait until Tuesday though. Apologies.

    @SaraMc It certainly is not legal.

    Everyone else, thanks ever so much for all your sightings. It's a real pleasure to read them.

  • Comment number 34.

    I heard a cuckoo singing in Brandon Wood on S/E corner of Coventry today at about 1pm. After 10 mins or so, it thern flew into the canopy of the oak tree I was standing under so I was able to view it clearly from about 15 feet away - what a privelege!! Also heard a skylark singing from a spinney in the same area.

  • Comment number 35.

    Heard the cuckoo on 29th April at our farm in the Ochil Hills in Perthshire. I wait with baited breath every year for his arrival and when he comes I know it really is Spring.

  • Comment number 36.

    ello,
    im from port talbot i have seen alot of swifts, swollows, sandmartins and house martins from where i am, i live near the beach and on my travels to neath i have heard loads of chif chaffs and some of our resident birds and also there has been a stork spotted in aberdullais the other day, here is a link reading about this (its not my link but somebody who saw it the same day too) also here is my latest post on my travels to aberavon beach
    "WHILST ON MY TRAVELS TO WHERE I USUALLY WALK, I WENT BEHIND THE SAND DUNES WHERE THE BP USED TO BE WHICH I CALL BAGLAN BAY ESTUARY, AS SOON AS YOU GO ON THAT WALK YOU WILL HEAR THE LOVELY NOISES OF THE SEAGULLS AND WHATS QUICKLY CAME AND FIRST SEEN SINCE JANUARY TIME ARE LOADS OF SAND-MARTINS AND SKYLARKS, ALSO I CAME ACROSS A TIDY FEW MEADOW PIPITS, GOLDFINCHES, ROSE-FINCH, LOADS OF PARING LAPWINGS AND THE MOST EXCITING DISCOVERY AND THE FIRST TIME SEEING THE GREAT GREY SHRIKE, THERE WERE A TIDY FEW OVER THERE TOO AND FLYING AROUND THE LITTLE STREAMS MADE BY THE TIDE JUST BEHIND INTERTISSUE, ALSO THERE ARE NORMALLY SHELLDUCKS AND CURLEWS OFTEN ON THE BAGLAN RIVER AND ONLY SEEN ONCE IS A LITTLE EGRET WHICH I SAW 2 MONTHS AGO.

    ALSO THERE WERE OTHER FANTASTIC BIRDS AROUND, AND ALSO A FEW RABBITS WITH THEY PUPS (CUTE) UNFORTUNATELY THEY RAN OFF TO QUICKLY FOR ME TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THEM. THE ONLY IMAGES I HAVE GOT AT THE MOMENT IS OF THE GREAT GREY SHRIKE AND THE KESTREL ON TOP OF A TREE, THE OTHER MATE WAS PERCHED IN THE OLD BP BUILDING WITH PREY IN HER CLAWS, COULD NOT IDENTIFY IT BUT IT LOOKED BIG. I HAVE LOCATED WHAT COULD BE THEIR NEST BUT WILL NOT SAY FOR SAFETY OF THE BIRDS.

    SO ON A LOVELY DAY LIKE THIS ITS A PERFECT TIME TO GO DOWN THERE WITH A PAIR OF BINOCULARS AND A CAMERA, NOT JUST TO SPOT BIRDS BUT THE OTHER WILDLIFE THERE TOO, THERE WERE ABOUT 6 SPECIES OF BUTTERFLY'S I NOTICED THERE AND LOADS OF INSECTS, SO GET YOUR WALKING BOOTS ON AND GET DOWN THERE."

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    I live in Hythe, Hampshire not far from where Chris Packham lives. We are close to Shore Road and have a small wooded area close to our house. My hubby heard the first cuckoo from the wood on Saturday morning around 6'ish.
    On the same day I went Nordic walking at Deerleap and heard a cuckoo there around 11'ish.
    This is great news as we didn't hear any last year at all, particularly near our home
    Sandy Brown

  • Comment number 39.

    Imagine my surprise yesterday when I was at my local garden centre and my friend Julie pointed out an enormous bird contentedly perching on top of a nearby lamp post (see Flickr link below). I am sure it is a White Stork, but is it an escapee from a local zoo/aviary, or could it possibly be a wild bird?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/29575785@N05/5684827882/in/set-72157626640311988/

  • Comment number 40.

    Heard our first cuckoo today 03/05/2011 at 20:55 in Brechfa forest 1042ft.

  • Comment number 41.

    chriscoggs, do you think it could be the one that has traveled from neath, i saw one in cardiff then neath and now i have heard sightings of them spotted in different places now, they should do a stalk watch on here :)

  • Comment number 42.

    I don't know if it is unusual,but I had a hooded crow on my bird feeding tray this morning.I have never seen one before ever,and had to look up what I'd seen. What a stunning bird.

  • Comment number 43.

    I was so excited this morning as I heard a Cuckoo calling in my area for the first time in 21 years!

  • Comment number 44.

    we have heard two cuckoos in our villge on 03/05/11 and one other in a village nearby on 04/05/11. Hope this is relevant information for your team.

  • Comment number 45.

    Heard our first cuckoo at Warren House Inn Dartmoor yesterday. We were enjoying a well earned sherbert whilst sitting on benches overlooking the rolling moors in moderate sunshine. Hope this goes on Chris P's map!

  • Comment number 46.

    I have heard two different cuckoos in less than a week whilst out walking which is a surprise considering that I only heard one last year. I heard the first one at Kinver Edge, Staffordshire on Friday, 29th April just before midday then another at Morton Bagot in Warwickshire on 5th May at 2.30.

  • Comment number 47.

    sorry this is a late entry but i heard the first cuckoo on april 14/15. I know this is very early as I have never heard it before my birthday on April 21st.

    Also have hundreds of tadpoles as usual in my garden pond, they love feeding on cooked chicken, hope this is o.k. I have a lovely handwritten letter from Chris regarding something I wrote to him several years ago, must have been before E mail!

  • Comment number 48.

    With regard to cuckoos, we have just spent a lovely holiday at Denny Wood in the New Forest and on the 26 April heard our first cuckoo. Every day after that we were hearing the cuckoo/s but did not hear any Nightjars - does anyone know why? We have stayed at Denny Wood many times and in the past have heard these most evenings but not for the last two years.

  • Comment number 49.

    heard a bird calling chiff chaff in my garden, is this a one off as we live in Cranham Essex, I have never heard it before, we have most birds around here but never that one.

  • Comment number 50.

    I heard my first ever cuckoo yesterday in the New Forest 10th May. I have never heard one before in my life. It made my day!

 

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