Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The return of the migrants



Spring is here and it’s that time of year again when the birds who migrated to warmer climes for the winter return to breed here in the UK.

Mid-April saw the return of several migrant bird species at Sandscale Haws. The first Willow Warblers were fairly late this year with the first one heard singing near to the car park on Monday 13th. By the end of the week the distinctive song could be heard all across the reserve. Another migrant returning to breed here is the Sedge Warbler with the first record from along the Roanhead Shore on Thursday 16th. Both of these species contribute to the familiar backdrop of birdsong across the reserve during the summer months.
Willow Warbler

Sedge Warbler

A single Whimbrel was seen flying over the car park on Tuesday 14th. In the UK this species only breeds in Northern Scotland but can be seen at coastal sites on migration to and from its South African wintering grounds. Whimbrels resemble Curlew but are smaller and have a loud and distinctive piping call that can help to identify birds in flight. Another African migrant, the Sandwich Tern, was noted on the 17th with 21 recorded feeding in the Duddon Estuary on the monthly Wetland Bird Count.

Whimbrel
Sandwich Terns in flight

Finally Easterly winds between 17th and 20th brought in small groups of Wheatears with 7 recorded on the 17th and 20th.

Wheatear (male)

The next few weeks should see the return of Whitethroats and Reed Warblers and there may be other species such as Common Redstarts and Whinchat passing through on their way back to their woodland breeding sites. If you see anything interesting when visiting the reserve please let us know.

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