A national scheme to track returning summer migrants to Britain has found that numbers of several species are down on previous years.
Results from the BTO
/BirdWatch Ireland project 'BirdTrack' show that fewer swallows (Hirundo rustica
) have been recorded this spring compared with the last two years. Other species, most notably the chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita
), have also been recorded less often compared with the last two years. Willow warbler ( Phylloscopus trochilus
), whitethroat (Sylvia communis
) and spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata
) are also down. Poor weather on migration, particularly in north Africa and southern Europe meant that birds did not find enough food to re-fuel properly after their long and difficult journey across the Sahara. For those that reached Britain and Ireland, the cold weather in April brought further problems. All these species are insectivorous and the recent cold and wet weather makes it much more difficult for them to find insects.