Anticipating the springtime arrival of summer resident and passage migrant species in our region creates a palpable atmosphere throughout the birding community. The recording of first arrival dates in our region assists in the understanding of bird migration and these records have never been so crucial as they are right now; global warming and climate change are affecting the natural world in a way that none of us have ever experienced. We are not necessarily looking at a single outstanding date that jumps out and grabs the attention, it is the continuing general early or late arrival that sets a scene of probable overall change in a species habits. A continuing trend then forms the basis from which to work when assessing change. The West Midland Bird Club Annual Report provides this information on a year on year basis and, when this is linked with the information provided by bird clubs throughout the British Isles, we have a network of reference beyond compare. The entire work forms the very
essence of British bird study and this is something that this Club is extremely proud to be part of - contributing counts.
Of course, it’s not just about migratory birds, our resident species and those of continental origin can be affected by a continued pattern of weather change. As a result of this the avifauna of our region has seen some dramatic changes since this Club started producing records in 1934.
Amongst many others, Cattle, Little and
Great White Egret are now everyday
occurrence records from throughout our
region and the annual regional status of
Common Buzzard has changed dramatically
in recent decades but, other species have
dwindled in their numbers. It is of great
importance that we monitor the vocal
springtime activities of species such as
Song Thrush and Skylark and the breeding
behaviour of Blue Tit and Great Tit, they all
matter immensely as they all form part of
the whole picture.
Right now, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow and
Northern Wheatear are moving into our
region, earlier than usual, all have been
pushed along and invigorated by an
unseasonal late February weather system
that has seen a strong and continued
movement of air from equatorial climes,
bringing unusually high and in some
instances, record breaking high temperatures to the British Isles. Has this been a one-off late February occurrence that has brought about early springtime bird activity to our region or is it something that might form part of the norm in the future. Springtime monitoring of wild bird activities and weather patterns will certainly assist in providing the answer.
Song Thrush - John Oates