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Dawn Balmer
Thursday 12th February 2004, 17:56
Over the last week there has been an incredible number of House Martins turning up, perhaps as many as 35. Also three Swallows, two Wheatears and a Sand Martin have made it.

The BTO's Migration Watch project starts on Sunday 15th Feb (www.bto.org/migwatch) so it will be interesting to see if this early arrival of birds continues or if these early birds were just a 'one-off'. It's a shame Migration Watch didn't start a week earlier! Clearly the high pressure system over Europe and the warm winds encouraged the migrants further north. I hear that House Martins and Swallows arrived back in Gibraltar much earlier than usual.

It would be interesting to hear from birders in southern Europe - what migrants are on their way north?

Dawn Balmer

Gerry Hooper
Saturday 14th February 2004, 19:51
Hi Dawn
It's very early isn't it.
Do these arrival dates break any records?

I'll send you in my sightings- I half expected to see a Wheatear today, but it didn't happen.

Dawn Balmer
Monday 16th February 2004, 08:31
There is a report of a Cuckoo in Berkshire on 14 February which is a month earlier than the previous Berks record (15 March) according to the Berks email group.

Amazing.

Dawn Balmer

Andrew Whitehouse
Monday 16th February 2004, 09:10
Also a report of a Swift in Ely on Saturday.

Kerr-azy.

Brian Stone
Monday 16th February 2004, 09:49
Don't forget Dave's record breaking Garganey
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=12820

Gerry Hooper
Saturday 28th February 2004, 19:54
So how will these early migrants cope with this change in weather?
The martins will be having most trouble I expect.
But it has been dry so I reckon they're still around somewhere.
Whattaya think ? Am I being a bit optomistic? Are the birds skating on thin ice?...

Gerry Hooper
Wednesday 3rd March 2004, 10:27
So how will these early migrants cope with this change in weather?
The martins will be having most trouble I expect.
But it has been dry so I reckon they're still around somewhere.
Whattaya think ? Am I being a bit optomistic? Are the birds skating on thin ice?...


"Is there anybody out there?" Pink Floyd.
'Course there is. Who do you think put the record on .

Dawn Balmer
Thursday 4th March 2004, 08:56
Apart from a few House Martins and a Swallow in Cornwall, there has been virtually no sightings of 'spring' migrants for a couple of weeks. No more sightings of Wheatear after the very early influx. It's a mystery where they go to.

This cold weather can't be good for them, especially the covering of snow and ice which will make it hard to ground feeders like Wheatears to survive.

I guess with the weather turning a bit milder we might get the first few 'spring' arrivals of Chiffchaff in the next week or so.

Dawn

Michael Frankis
Thursday 4th March 2004, 13:55
Presumably either all dead, or else they turned round and went back south. I gather its been cold in Spain too (reports of snow at sea level in Majorca), so the former may be the more likely, particularly the swallows & martins. Though if Robins and Stonechats can survive snow, I don't see why Wheatears shouldn't too.

Michael

Steve G
Thursday 4th March 2004, 18:30
Presumably either all dead, or else they turned round and went back south. I gather its been cold in Spain too (reports of snow at sea level in Majorca), so the former may be the more likely, particularly the swallows & martins. Though if Robins and Stonechats can survive snow, I don't see why Wheatears shouldn't too.

Michael
Perhaps, however having been out on very cold but bright days over the last few weekends there have been no shortage of winter gnats & other small flying insects up here. I gather that some of the early hirundines found their way to sheltered wetlands such as Marazion whilst resourceful birds may be able to exploit flies in lambing sheds & flying insects around sewage works (which hold flies even in the depths of winter) so who knows. I prefer to think of the early trailblazers as being that bit more resourceful but perhaps I'm kidding myself. ;)

Gerry Hooper
Thursday 4th March 2004, 19:33
Yeah ,it would be nice to think of them surviving.
It is odd how they're never seen again.