Monday, 2 May 2016

And still they come...

As April turns into May, more migrant birds are returning from their wintering grounds. I caught up with some special ones over the long weekend, taking in a couple of sites on the southern shore of Poole Harbour, and sneaking in an early morning trip to Portland between some weekend work commitments - so not much time for text!
Hobby over Stoborough Heath - our only falcon to spend winter south of the Sahara. This one was engaged in a fruitless search for odonata on a bright but chilly day
A Nightingale returning to a traditional site on the Corfe Ridge - easily heard before it was seen. Geolocators are providing more accurate accounts of the migration route to Africa taken by the UK's Nightingales - see here
This Cuckoo was seen before it was heard on Stoborough Heath - a combination of satellite tracking and Springwatch has made minor celebrities out of several of these long distance migrants - see here
A male Kentish Plover at Ferrybridge was a bonus on returning from a relatively birdless Portland - sadly, no longer a breeding bird in the UK. Western European breeders winter in South West Europe
A continental White Wagtail at Portland Bill was the highlight of a twirl around the south of the island
Back at home, a 1st summer Little Gull brightened up a visit to Swineham on a dull Bank Holiday Monday
The first Swifts of the year had also arrived and were screaming over the gravel pits. This species wins the prize for the most epic migration featured in this post - see BTO website for details here. One bird fitted with a geolocator completed the final 5,000km leg of the journey back to the UK from West Africa in 5 days. Swift indeed.

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