The winter issue of Nature’s Home is "in the can" and I’m looking forward to hearing all your feedback and photographs, sightings and stories once you've read it. It will be with you in around three weeks time.
Our winter "Skills" section covers insect overwinter survival, making the most of wintry conditions in your wildlife photography and I share my tips for finding incoming migrating birds. You can see “visible migration” well into December, as all sorts of species arrive from points north and east of the UK and the skies are starting to get busy already.Redwings will arrive from Iceland and Scandinavia from around mid-month and continue right up to Christmas (Robin Carter rspb-images.com)
Migration starts hereSeptember is when things start to get going and I saw my first immigrants yesterday in an unlikely location. My 10-year-old nephew (a hockey star in the making) had asked if I’d be able to watch his training session at the local sports club in the morning. I was pretty much bang in the middle of the country in Hampton-on-Arden in the West Midlands, so not somewhere I'd class as a migration hotspot. For a brief time yesterday morning it was though...
Among the “clacks” of hockey sticks breaking the chilly early autumn air, I suddenly picked out the thin “tsip” of a meadow pipit. Glancing up, a flock of five of them passed over. Ten minutes or so later, another flock passed over in exactly the same direction and at exactly the same height. This went on for about half an hour and other species appeared too – an unseen skylark’s ripple sounded out, too high to see and a song thrush zipped over.
The meadow pipits you see over the next few weeks could well have come from the continent (Tom Marshall rspb-images.com)
This was visible migration in action and a check of the compass on my phone showed the birds were all heading in a south-west direction. It was a classic time of day and route for birds that have departed the continent, hit the east coast and continued inland, perhaps using rivers or hills to help guide them on their way.
Migrant birds use natural landmarks to help them on their way - and tempt them down for a rest (David Wotton rspb-images.com)
Weather watchI also checked the weather and the wind was a moderate south-west wind. There is a theory that migrating birds like to fly into a slight headwind. Air resistance is also reduced at ground level so they fly a little lower rather than passing at great height. A south-west wind is a good one for seeing visible migration, so keep an eye on the weather charts.
There’s more on this in your October magazine where you can also find out about the wild geese that are on their way for winter. I hope you find it useful and don't forget to let us know what's flying over your part of the world.