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    Spring bird migration highlights

    ArticleBird AdviceWednesday 04 April 2012
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    Spring Birds

    As reported earlier, swallows and sand martins had been making steady progress. By Monday last week, the former had reached Cumbria and the latter Lothian in Scotland (the earliest record they've had there). Now, both have reached northern Scotland. As have the wheatears.

    The house martins - always later migrants than other members of their family - are making their way northwards, with small numbers spotted in Cheshire last week.

    Any news of the ospreys' return to their breeding sites is always eagerly awaited. And so far it's looking good. The first to return - a 14-year-old male bird nicknamed 'Mr Rutland' - arrived back on Sunday 20 March to his site at Rutland Water. On Thursday, 'EJ', a female 14-year-old, returned to RSPB Scotland's Loch Garten reserve in the Highlands. Meanwhile, the Lake District Osprey Project is hoping for the return of its breeding pair any minute now.

    But arrival time for some inevitably means departure time for others. So this week we start to say goodbye to pink-footed geese (flocks seen heading north over Yorkshire) and starlings and fieldfares (both observed heading out to sea off the east coast).

    Waxwings, the undisputed bird stars of last autumn and winter, can still be found right across the country. For a taster, take a look at the recent comments on our waxwing sighting blog post - they're still coming in thick and fast. So if you haven't yet seen one, there's still hope.

     

    waxwing copyright Alex Berryman

    Male Waxwing © Alex Berryman
     
    The latest, from Sue in Chichester, West Sussex, was yesterday: "Saw nine waxwings perched on a neighbour's aerial. Never seen this bird before. Grabbed the binoculars then checked the RSPB website to identify. Ironic that these winter visiting birds should be seen on the very morning we changed the clocks to British Summer time!"
     
    Of course, migration season also brings plenty of unusual visitors. Sightings made to the BTO last week include a short-toed treecreeper (Suffolk), three white-spotted bluethroats (Isles of Scilly, Suffolk and East Yorkshire), three more hoopoes (Devon, Cornwall and Dorset) and a spotted crake (Lancashire).
     
    If you're interested in keeping an eye on spring's arrivals, BirdTrack has animated maps for most of the common species.

     

    Source: BBC Nature

     

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