Reported Honey-buzzard: Totals by Month 2010 and Comments

month

Total

2009

SW

CI/

Sea

SE

EA

Mid

NE

NW

Scot

Wales

NI/Eire

Total

2010

April

7


1

3

3

1


1




9

May

77

9

1

24

10

7

10

2

1

1


65

June

33

3

1

8

6


5

1

4



28

July

21

1


3

4

2

7


2

1


20

Aug

63

6

1

18*

12

11

9

4


1


62

Sept

117

8

3*

35

11

8

17

1

7

1


91

Oct

16

3

1

11

2


5

1

1



24

Nov

1











0

Total

335

30

8

102

48

29

53

10

15

4

0

299

Data from BirdGuides

Additional sources: * 4 from Trektellen for August in SE and 1 for September in CI; 3 from Notice Board (Northumberland) for September in NE, 4 for October in NE and 1 for October in SE.

These totals are not directly comparable with the presumed migrant totals compiled by British Birds. The records above are unchecked and may include breeding sites, though each breeding site will only feature once per month. On the other hand not all records are submitted to the BirdGuides and other reporting systems.

Notes:

April: as last year a small return passage late in April with 9 birds noted from 22nd-29th, including 3 in East Anglia and SE England. One bird had returned to a Northumberland site by 26/4 but this was the only bird seen in that county for this month.

May: total numbers at 65 were slightly down on the record numbers of the last 2 years. Movement was fairly slow in the first half of the month with 20 through by 15th. Passage then increased but at a fairly even rate for the remainder of the month with a further 13 by 20th, 18 by 25th and 14 by 31st. Slightly more birds were seen on weekends/bank holidays with 29 seen on 12 days, implying a monthly total of 75 with more leisure time. Regionally the South-East had the largest total of 24, followed by East Anglia and the North-East with 10, the South-West with 9 and Midlands with 7. The easterly bias is a familiar one. On a more local basis there was a flurry of records in London from 12th-22nd with 12 birds seen and in Cornwall, in easterly winds, with 7 drifted far to the west from 26th-27th.

June: most were seen in the first week of the month with 15 out of 28 by 7th. A trickle of migrants continued across the whole of the UK though until 28th when one was on Shetland. Regionally the highest counts were again in the South-East with 8, East Anglia with 6 and the North-East with 5 but Scotland also featured well with 4. The breeding population in Northumberland was maintained at last year's level. Running total for migrants is a little below last year's figure but it's really amazing how similar the detailed seasonal pattern is over the last few years, suggesting a stable immigration pattern rather than an erratic drift migration.

July: a typical total of 20, pretty evenly distributed through the month with slightly more at the start – 10 by 10th, 13 by 19th and 20 by 30th. Some were obviously migrants including 2 in Scotland at Shetland and Fife on 2nd and one at Anglesey on 3rd. Yorkshire featured well with all 7 of NE England's tally including 2 at Wykeham Forest on 25th. Increased reports in the Scarborough area support last year's view that the Wykeham Forest birds are but just one pair in an extended family. East Anglia had the next highest total of 4, including 3 on 28th at Swanton Novers, where the conspicuousness of the birds may suggest another non-breeding year. In Northumberland numbers and timing appear normal by recent standards.

August: a relatively high total of 62 very close to the 63 recorded last year. As usual eastern areas of England dominated with 18 in the SE, 12 in East Anglia and 9 in the NE. But the Midlands also did well with 11. The month started slowly with only 11 by 9th and 17 by 16th. Numbers then picked up with 9 from 17th-19th, 13 from 22nd-26th and 23 in the last 5 days from 27th-31st with 9 alone on the last day. Multiple counts included 4 at Flitwick (Beds), Bursledon and Aldershot (both Hants), 3 at Great Ryburgh and 2 at Swanton Novers (both Norfolk), Wykeham Forest (North Yorks), Carlton (Notts), Donna Nook (Lincs) and Beddington (London). The strong movement at the end of the month may well have comprised males exiting after their broods had fledged. Such was the case with 2 in SW Northumberland from 25th-26th in the Hexham area.

September: the total of 91 was unexceptional on its own being the 6th highest, ranking after 2008, 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2003. This might suggest low productivity but could also be due to relatively favourable weather during the exodus of the birds, which makes them less visible to observers on the ground. Over the month 30 were counted in the first ten days, 35 in the second period of ten days and 26 in the final period so passage was fairly constant throughout. 13 moved from 12th-13th including 9 on the former day and 10 from 21st-22nd. As usual the main regions were in the east of England: SE England with 35, NE England with 17 and East Anglia for 11. Seven in Scotland was also noteworthy. Multiple counts included 3 S at Spurn Head, East Yorks, on 3rd and two at Watermead (Leics) on 13th, Earls Barton (Northants) on 21st, Rye Harbour (East Sussex) on 22nd and Peterborough (Cambs, to SE) on 30th.

October: total of 24 was the third highest recorded for the month ranking only after those for the big movement in 2000 and the unusually high movement compared to other months in 1998; the count even exceeded that in the other peak year of 2008. Movement slowly declined during the month with 12 in 1st 10 days, 6 in 2nd ten days and 6 in last 11 days, with the last single juveniles in Cornwall on 27th and Northumberland on 30th. Regionally 11 were seen in SE England, 5 in NE England and 3 in SW England. There was one multiple record: 2 flew S at Beachy Head, East Sussex, on 7th. Although only 6 were recorded as juveniles, it is likely that all of these late moving birds were of this age.

Overall: the fourth best year on record after 2008, 2000 and 2009 with total of 299 birds reported. So three of the four best years have occurred since 2008 indicating a continued increase in numbers. The regional pattern during the year was close to normal with most birds counted as follows: 102 in SE England, 53 in NE England 48 in East Anglia. Usually NE England is in 3rd place after East Anglia. After a sharp rise last year, the Channel Islands featured much more poorly this year with just 8 noted; the decline may be due to weather patterns affecting the migration routes or to reduced observer effort. Regular seasonal pattern means cannot be random weather-linked events. More to follow. Going to compile graphs comparing counts since 2000.

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