I thought I would share this footage which I saw posted earlier today by the BTO, showing a huge number of migrating birds, predominantly chaffinches and brambling, stopping to rest on a research ship in the Baltic Sea this month. Illuminated by the spotlights it looks like a snowstorm blowing across the deck.
It's an incredible, moving scene, in every sense; the darkness, the noise, the random factor (the passing vessel), above all - the primal instinct to survive at all costs laid bare. Following this crossing, many of these birds may have continued over the North Sea to Britain to make the most of our temperate winter. Maybe they're in your garden right now?
Colourful, chirpy and living dangerously. Ladies and gentlemen, the humble chaffinch.
The graph above shows peak counts of chaffinch numbers per week on my patch so far in 2015 courtsesy of BirdTrack. (I didn't visit between mid-March and late July but numbers would certainly have continued in the form of weeks 8 and 9). The annual spike between weeks 40 and 43 is a result of the arrival into North Kent of birds like those above.