Mike Dil­ger’s wildlife watch­ing

In his se­ries of great places to watch wildlife in the UK, the star of BBC One's The One Show this month takes us on an out­ing to view mi­grat­ing birds, with use­ful tips on when and where to look.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Contents -

How to en­joy mi­gra­tion hotspots

Whether it be a new bird in the gar­den, a first for your lo­cal patch, or even a species you’ve never be­fore seen in Britain, it’s time to ad­mit there is prob­a­bly a lit­tle bit of the ‘twitcher’ in all of us. For those with a pen­chant for track­ing down rare and unexpected birds, Oc­to­ber is the month when mil­lions of our feath­ered friends re­lo­cate from their breed­ing to win­ter­ing grounds – with some get­ting lost along the way.

Dur­ing this time of mass avian move­ment across the north­ern hemi­sphere, the best lo­ca­tions to catch up with more unusual species are on points, head­lands and is­lands on or around our coast. It is the lo­ca­tion of these mi­gra­tion hotspots that puts them in the per­fect spot to of­fer respite for any mi­gra­tory birds either us­ing the coast as a nav­i­ga­tional marker, or af­ter travers­ing the seas as a reg­u­lar part of their long jour­ney.

Ad­di­tion­ally, these sites tend to be the first land­fall for any in­di­vid­u­als that have blown off course or be­come dis­ori­en­tated.

Bird­ers keen to max­imise their chances of en­coun­ter­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary species at these prime lo­ca­tions fre­quently be­come avid weather-watch­ers in Oc­to­ber. Winds can im­pact heav­ily on mi­gra­tion, as sus­tained east­er­lies should mean that bird­ing on the east coast will be hard to beat. Con­versely, if the pre­vail­ing wind is blow­ing across the At­lantic from the Amer­i­cas, then west will be best. More­over, if the ‘right’ winds com­bine with cold, wet and foggy con­di­tions here in the UK, this of­ten means mi­gra­tory birds

Barred war­blers turn up in the UK in the au­tumn as they mi­grate south. Head to the east coast for a good chance of see­ing one.

Spurn Point is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for bird­watch­ers.

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