Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 8 April 2013

Easterlies delay migration.....but promising days ahead.

March and early April 2013 have seen unprecedented conditions which have delayed spring migration unlike any other year that I can remember. An almost constant flow of easterly winds and very low temperatures have had a blocking effect upon migration for small passerine species.  Millions of Warblers and Hirundine (Swallows) species will be gathering and feeding along a broad front in southern Europe, waiting for conditions to change in their favour so that the push into Northern Europe can begin, territories can be secured, and breeding can begin.  Time will tell what impact a later start than usual will have upon 2013 breeding successes.

As I sit here typing this I am thinking to myself how strange it is to reach the 8th April with virtually no records of summer migrants on my Breckland patch.  By now, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers, and Reed Warblers should all be in full song and display, Swallows, House Martins, and Sand Martins should be filling the skies, hunting winged insects.

Larger and stronger migrants have already arrived, this includes a fine male Ring Ouzel at Breckles on 29th and 30th March, and several Stone Curlews on the patch in the first few days of April......but what of smaller migrants such as Warblers.
Male Ring Ouzel at Breckles, Norfolk 30/03/13
The promise of warmer conditions with more favourable wind directions from the forthcoming weekend and the week beyond, a huge surge of migrants into the UK will begin; the species which would generally have arrived much earlier will probably be joined by typical mid-April species such as Cuckoo, Whitethroat, and Lesser Whitethroat.

It should be an exciting week to 10 days ahead, the skies should be filled with millions of migrating birds - let's hope they arrive safely and enjoy a successful breeding season.

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