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First Spring Migrants?

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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 08:59   #1
Stoggler
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First Spring Migrants?

Just wondering - as a rule, which summer visitors are usually the first to arrive back in Britain?

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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:00   #2
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Wheatear has to be up there.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:02   #3
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Blimey - first prize for most rapid response today goes to you John!

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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:02   #4
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Northern wheatear is usually one of the first mgrants I expect to see.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:03   #5
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Ha!
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:05   #6
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Sand martin can be really early some years, too.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:50   #7
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Ring Ouzel and Garganey are other possibly early ones ... plus I guess waders on the move ...

I guess there's also a difference between the first spring migrants seen (eg at coastal watchpoints, reservoirs), and the first actually back on territory ...
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 09:54   #8
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Migrants are already on the move, we have already had Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Pallid Swift, Great Spotted Cuckoo and over 4000+ Black Tailed Godwits in one field alone, some with colour rings from Iceland, and some from Greenland.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 11:36   #9
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Hiya,

I'd usually expect to see my first Wheatear sometime around the 17th March (Paddy's Day). For me, this heralds the start of true Spring, none of this 1st February malarky!!!

Would also expect to see my first Sand Martins & Sandwich Terns in the later half of March.

All the best,
Niall
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 12:39   #10
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Niall answered for me there. I would also add Chiffchaff. Often seen or heard during the third week of March in this neck of the woods.

Si.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 17:14   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoggler View Post
Just wondering - as a rule, which summer visitors are usually the first to arrive back in Britain?

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Wheatear, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern, Ring Ousel, Garganey, Osprey are traditionally amongst the earliest arrivals. That said a Whimbrel was reported in Devon today!!

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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 17:57   #12
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That said a Whimbrel was reported in Devon today!!

CB
Overwintering most likely ... I saw 2 down here in Cornwall back in the new year ... bit of a surprise to be honest!! Looking into it, apparently c. 20 recorded in the south west uk and ireland annually, so not quite so rare. I'd imagine the same would be the case for the Chiffchaffs seen/heard singing in March - if not uk winterers, near continent ones, rather than from sub-saharan Africa??
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 18:03   #13
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I reckon that Chiff Chaffs singing in march will most likely be over-wintering birds too. Sand Martins for me are the earliest, although there were Swallows at a local reservoir early last year or the year before on March 15th. Also a Wheatear on my local patch last year on March 16th. Heard a Chaffinch singing today.
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Old Tuesday 2nd February 2010, 18:21   #14
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LR Plovers are early migrants as well.
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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 20:33   #15
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Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Overwintering most likely ... I saw 2 down here in Cornwall back in the new year ... bit of a surprise to be honest!! Looking into it, apparently c. 20 recorded in the south west uk and ireland annually, so not quite so rare. I'd imagine the same would be the case for the Chiffchaffs seen/heard singing in March - if not uk winterers, near continent ones, rather than from sub-saharan Africa??
Possibly but I checked the RBA records for the SW and none had been reported recently. They do occur as one of the earlier migrants.

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LR Plovers are early migrants as well.
Forgot about them. Carn't wait for them to get back!!

CB
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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 20:48   #16
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Possibly but I checked the RBA records for the SW and none had been reported recently. They do occur as one of the earlier migrants.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=160259 (Post#6)

There's also been at least another elsewhere in Cornwall, and the one in Devon.

Can't find the link I read about originally, but googling 'overwintering whimbrel' comes up with various records ... and I don't think they're normally a regular march migrant for example ... anyway ...
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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 20:50   #17
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Peak time for Whimbrel is April and early May they are very scarce in March.
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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 21:01   #18
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Peak time for Whimbrel is April and early May they are very scarce in March.
Peak passage is later as you say but the first birds up here appear irregularly before the end of March. Certainly not regular but not unheard of either. The counties along the south coast do regularly get the first records in March.

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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 21:06   #19
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Peak passage is later as you say but the first birds up here appear irregularly before the end of March. Certainly not regular but not unheard of either. The counties along the south coast do regularly get the first records in March.

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Most of the Whimbrel pass through my area Co.Durham,Northumberland April to early May.We very rarely see Whimbrels in March i think we have only 3 records for March.
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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 21:13   #20
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By the same token Willow Warbler and even Cuckoo could be said to be among the earliest migrants, I've seen the latter in March myself ...

Digressing even further ( ), how about Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Alpine Swift? ...

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Old Wednesday 3rd February 2010, 21:28   #21
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I can remember end of Feb/March 1990 there was a big influx of Mediterreanean birds especially in the southern half of the UK,Woodchats Shrikes GS Cuckoos, BW Stilts,RR Swallows,Squacco Herons,Night Herons, Purple Herons.Sardinian,Subalpine Warblers,Hoopoes,Alpine Swifts.
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Old Thursday 4th February 2010, 07:16   #22
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I reckon that Chiff Chaffs singing in march will most likely be over-wintering birds too.
Not sure about that. I regularly check the Bois de Boulogne here during winter and have yet to see a Chiffchaff between early November and end-February. But by the second week of March there are many singing. This suggests to me that they are migrants. Of course, they could be over-wintering nearby (or I could also be simply missing them during the winter, but that seems unlikely given the numbers singing by mid-March).

I suspect they are relatively short-distance migrants that have over-wintered further south, possibly in France but maybe in, and to the south of, the Loire Valley.

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Old Thursday 4th February 2010, 17:13   #23
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Originally Posted by rokermartin View Post
I can remember end of Feb/March 1990 there was a big influx of Mediterreanean birds especially in the southern half of the UK,Woodchats Shrikes GS Cuckoos, BW Stilts,RR Swallows,Squacco Herons,Night Herons, Purple Herons.Sardinian,Subalpine Warblers,Hoopoes,Alpine Swifts.
I remember seeing all those gorgeous pictures in Birdwatching magazine.

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Not sure about that. I regularly check the Bois de Boulogne here during winter and have yet to see a Chiffchaff between early November and end-February. But by the second week of March there are many singing. This suggests to me that they are migrants. Of course, they could be over-wintering nearby (or I could also be simply missing them during the winter, but that seems unlikely given the numbers singing by mid-March).

I suspect they are relatively short-distance migrants that have over-wintered further south, possibly in France but maybe in, and to the south of, the Loire Valley.

DiP
The fact you see "many singing" in mid March certainly means most of those birds will be migrants and not wintering birds. I get Chiffchaffs singing regularly in March in my local area which as far as I recall has had no winter records although birds do winter elsewhere in the county.

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