Recent monitoring at the north end of Strangford Lough indicates that migration proper has yet to start. Alex Portig and myself have been taking a look every few days, but numbers appear to be hovering around the same (300 - 400) since my last post.
This is the usual scene at this state of the season - Alex on his bike, able to easily negotiate the 3 km+ long bank, and myself plus my dog, Bonzo on foot definitely less able!! The photograph, taken a couple of days ago, illustrates the extreme distances we are trying to read across - the birds here can (only just, as mini-dots!) be seen way out on the mudflats near the water's edge. Heat-haze is constantly an additional problem at this time of year. Just four ringed birds picked up today - often we wonder why do we do this!!!!!!
The answer to that is that often these "early" birds can move on, never to be seen again elsewhere, so therefore very much of interest for overall bird survival analysis. Whilst obviously an imperfect example, the very first bird read this winter, H-B- (H blue right leg, left leg-ring lost) was only picked up once last winter, possibly/presumably the same bird?, in the autumn last winter at the north end of Strangford Lough.