Migrants on the Move

The first Grasshopper Warbler of the year arrived today and showed very well (and was ringed on the island)
Roosting Barn owl on a seabird cliff (Sam Langlois)

Wednesday 21st April comments: Whilst the seabird season has been slow to get underway, bird migration has followed a similar pattern. After a push of early migrants in late March with the fine weather which brought the years first Wheatears, Sand Martins and Chiffchaffs, migration then came to an abrupt halt.

Cold northerly winds dominated early April and as a result nothing was making it through and staying further south to avoid the freezing temperatures of this area. At long last those days are now over (we hope) and warmer southerly winds are rising temperatures and bringing with it migrant birds which have been wintering in Africa are now making a push north. As usual the Isle of May has seen a noticeable increase of bird migrants in recent days.

Amongst the arrivals have included several Willow Warblers, a good scattering of Wheatears, an obliging Grasshopper Warbler (which showed extremely well), more Sand Martins and Swallows with others on the move north including Meadow pipits, linnets and Siskins. Interestingly a Brambling today is a species heading out of the U.K. to head back to breeding grounds in Scandinavia.

More unusual for the island was the discovery of a Barn owl roosting and it appears to be the same individual seen in late February and early March, so it obviously likes the island (and its mice). Also other noteworthy birds included a House Sparrow (rare on here!) Stock Dove (another scarce visitor) and Black Redstart amongst others. It is now an exciting time to be on the island and each day can bring surprises. What will happen over the next week or two, you’ll just have to wait and find out…   

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