Thursday 17th November comments: Bird migration is a wondrous thing and the Isle of May is one of the best places to witness it in the UK. The island sits six miles out in the North Sea and thousands of birds utilise the place over the course of the year. Birds migrating in and out of the country, whether they are heading north or south use the island as a service station to refuel and rest before moving on. With the general lack of predators, especially ground predators, tired migrants can rest and feed without too much hassle.
As part of this the island is ideally situated to welcome short-distant migrants but as a prominent island, we have had some really rare birds over the course of time and the bird observatory on the island was founded back in 1934 to study such movements and arrivals. This year has been no different as it is been a good year overall with a total of 175 species recorded, the fourth highest annual total and just five short of the record of 180 set in 2016.
As with any year, the weather patterns are significant as if it is good (easterly winds during the spring and autumn periods) then the number and variety of birds can be interesting and significant. However the opposite is said if we are dominated by westerly winds, as very few birds turn up (it’s not as simple as that but you get the idea). This year we witnessed both as the spring was poor but in complete contrast to autumn which was epic. Over the next few days we’ll look at the highlights of the season and pick out some of the very best which turned up on the Isle of May during 2022 so stay tuned.