Tuesday 30th March comments: The breeding seabirds of the island have been responding to the (relatively) calm weather we’ve had of recent but the winds have not been ideal for migrant passerines until today.
A drop in the wind strength has allowed the first noticeable day of arrivals on the island for a while as birds start flooding in from wintering grounds from Africa and beyond. The most spectacular was the arrival of two northern Wheatears (with their distinctive white rumps) which are on their way to Scottish upland breeding grounds for the summer. In recent days a good number have been arriving further south in England so it was only a matter of time before we got our first. These wonderful migrants light up the dullest of days and late March is peak arrival time on the Isle of May as in recent years the first birds have been seen between 28th March-4th April with the earliest arriving on 22nd March 2017.
As well as the Wheatears, two Sand Martins scooted north on their northerly migration as they arrived fresh-in and that was also reasonably early for the species. Interestingly it is this time of year when birds are not only arriving but also departing having overwintered successful and both Barnacle Goose and Fieldfare were recorded as they prepare for a northern bound journey to Scandinavia and beyond. The Isle of May is an important flyway for so many birds and so it is proving once again. Expect a lot more migration news in the forthcoming weeks.