Posted: Monday 26th August 2019 by Twheatear

Migrants taking their time...

While humans may have been celebrating the summer bank holiday, some migrant birds have already been warned – probably by shortening day length – that it’s time to head south. Yellow wagtails are a less familiar summer visitor than swallows, swifts or house martins, because their habit of nesting in fields of potatoes and other crops usually makes them a lot less visible to us. Their range in the UK has contracted eastwards in the past fifty years, with most now found in Eastern England, but there is still a small breeding population in Gwent and the Marches.

Down at Goldcliff over the past few days they have been unusually visible: sitting on the concrete sea wall. It seems likely that while the hot and humid weather has been acceptable for travelling south over land, the urge to migrate isn’t yet strong enough for them to start crossing salt water when heat haze prevents them seeing the land on the other side. Once clearer air brings Somerset back into view, they will no doubt be off on the next stage of their journey to tropical Africa. Until then, they seem content to pass the time feeding on insects either on the shore or in the lagoons.

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