Merlin meet Migration…

Tuesday 19th October comments: Merlin meet migration, migration meet Merlin (photos above are all images of Merlin). The number of birds moving through the Isle of May and generally across a broad front across the east coast of the U.K. has been impressive over the last few days. The sheer volumes of Redwing alone has been in their hundreds of thousands, with a supporting cast of other thrushes and Bramblings amongst others. It’s been brilliant to watch as nothing beats diurnal migration in action as these birds battle across the North Sea to arrive for the winter. However with this many birds, trouble is not far away…

On the Isle of May we don’t’ have any breeding birds of prey but at this time of year, migration also brings Kestrels and Sparrowhawks whilst a few Peregrines and Merlin are resident for the autumn and winter. These birds take advantage of our mouse population but also of tired migrants which have just arrived. In the last few days, two young Merlin have been working the island, taking their fill but in real terms this means just a few birds in the many thousands which cross the sea (and how many are lost out at sea?). Its nature’s way and Merlins have to survive and for young birds, this is a good learning experience.

Migration is amazing to watch and if you get the chance to witness it, go see it, you will not be disappointed. Until then we will keep counting, keep watching and keep reporting… it’s an exciting time of year on the Isle of May!

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