Sunday, 1 March 2015

Early migrants

It's March and that means summer migrants! Well, it doesn't really, does it. It might mean a few hardy early migrants making landfall, perhaps a fall or two at the months end, but there will be plenty of days when the winter will still rule, it will feel like December and the Sand Martin that enchanted us in mid-March will regret the day that it crossed the channel so early.

But regardless of all that pragmatism, summer migrants will arrive soon enough, so in celebration of these eagerly anticipated events I've raided my notebooks to bring you my earliest ever dates for the commoner (and some scarcer) summer migrants. Being a largely inland and weekend birder has meant that some of these dates are not all that impressive. If you live by the coast, and get out regularly, you will beat this lot into a cocked hat.

Garganey 27 March 1982 (Dungeness) - also recorded wintering
Montagu's Harrier 19 May 2014 (Dungeness)
Osprey 28 April 1996 (Stodmarsh) - also recorded wintering
Quail 13 May 1995 (Sandwich Bay)
Stone Curlew 16 April 1979 (Dungeness)
Little Ringed Plover 15 March 2008 (Holmethorpe SP)
Kentish Plover 1 April 1982 (Cliffe)
Dotterel 4 May 2012 (Canons Farm)
Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper dates confused by several wintering birds
Sandwich Tern 13 March 1993 (Dungeness)
Roseate Tern 12 May 1982 (Dungeness)
Common Tern 1 April 1978 (Dungeness)
Arctic Tern 18 April 1979 (Dungeness)
Little Tern 10 April 1982 (Dungeness)
Black Tern 22 April 1984 (Dungeness)
Turtle Dove 24 April 1983 (Appledore)
Cuckoo 13 April 2014 Leith Hill
Nightjar 18 May 1995 (Hempstead Forest)
Swift 22 April 2007 (Holmethorpe SP)
Sand Martin 12 March 1978 (Beddington SF)
Swallow 25 March 2005 (Holmethorpe SP)
House Martin 3 April 2010 (Holmethorpe SP)
Tree Pipit 12 April 1980 (Dungeness)
Yellow Wagtail 27 March 1980 (Dungeness) - also recorded wintering
Nightingale 12 April 1981 (Dungeness)
Common Redstart 11 April 1980 (Dungeness)
Whinchat 12 April 1981 (Dungeness)
Wheatear 11 March 1978 (Pagham Harbour)
Ring Ouzel 29 March 1998 (Bockhill) - also recorded wintering
Savi's Warbler 15 April 1977 (Stodmarsh)
Grasshopper Warbler 11 April 1981 (Westhampnett)
Sedge Warbler 5 April 1981 (Radipole)
Reed Warbler 13 April 2002 (Radipole)
Lesser Whitethroat 15 April 2007 (Holmethorpe SP)
Common Whitethroat 7 April 1995 (Dungeness)
Garden Warbler 24 April 2000 (Holmethorpe SP)
Wood Warbler 27 April 1980 (Headley Heath)
Willow Warbler 25 March 2000 (Holmethorpe SP)
Spotted Flycatcher 6 May 1983 (Cheam)
Pied Flycatcher 16 April 1983 (Pagham Harbour)
Golden Oriole 30 April 1988 (Dungeness)
Red-backed Shrike 15 May 1988 (Dungeness)

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