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Late (but welcome) visitors

Migration News from the British Trust for Ornithology

Birdwatchers throughout the country are being asked to look out for late arrivals of Swallows, House Martins and other migrant birds. Mark Grantham, who is looking after the British Trust for Ornithology`s Migration Watch website has received reports that birds are still arriving from Africa. The first Swallow was reported back on 5 March in West Sussex, nearly three months ago, and it is tempting to assume that all of our 16 million migrant birds have arrived by now. However, according to recent reports from home and abroad, there are still birds on the move. Recent reports of new arrivals on 29 May include House Martins, which immediately started nest building and extra pairs of farmyard Swallows. Possibly these are birds which have got caught up in bad weather somewhere between southern Africa and here. We have certainly seen reports of unprecedented numbers of Swallows south of the Sahara as late as mid-May. For migrant birds, arriving back in Britain late is bad news and there can be fierce squabbles as new arrivals try to claim territories. Given that early arrivals are already feeding youngsters, there is no way that latecomers can raise as many youngsters in a season.Migration on TV
Birdwatchers in the BBC South region will be able to learn more about migration by watching Inside Out on Monday 16 June at 7.30 pm.Who can help?
Anyone can get involved. Send in records of the first birds you see ? House Martins in your town or Swallows in your village. Take a regular walk and watch the seasons change, as first Chiffchaffs, then Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Cuckoo and Spotted Flycatcher add their voices to the summer chorus. Note when your first Swallow arrives, then keep records of when the nest is built, the eggs are laid, young start to be fed etc. And there is a huge amount of information to read too. Dawn Balmer, of the BTO, who organises Migration Watch is keen to recruit volunteers says Last year`s pilot of Migration Watch was really exciting, as we waited for the first birds to arrive. Three thousand birdwatchers sent in their records and we got a tantalising glimpse of how birds move into and through the country. With lots of new volunteers this year we hope to fill in some of the gaps in our coverage.Funding
Funding for Migration Watch has come from BTO members and supporters and from Northumbrian Water Limited. For further information on work being done by Northumbrian Water Limited on conservation and environment, visit http://www.nwl.co.uk/environment or telephone 0870 6084820. Like migrant birds, Northumbrian Water Limited has both a national and global dimension. The company`s support for Migration Watch celebrates links between its operational sites in Essex and Suffolk in the south and Northumbria in the north, as well as overseas. It has even been shown that Swallows ringed at one of its sewage works in Northumbria spend the winter in sites served by its South African sister company. It is a small world!For further information please contact:
Mark Grantham on 01842 750050 or E-mail: mark.grantham@bto.org during office hours
Graham Appleton 01842 750050 or E-mail: graham.appleton@bto.org during office hours
Or for information about Migration Watch in the Republic of Ireland contact:Oran O`Sullivan, BirdWatch Ireland, 8 Longford Place, Monkstone, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Tel: +353 12804322 E-mail: info@birdwatchireland.org

4th July 2014