April is one of the best times of year for birdwatchers. Many migratory species return to our shores to breed, while some species that have spent the winter here will head off for colder climes.
Some feathered friends arrive during the first part of April, but others are more likely to turn up now that the month is coming to an end. Here’s what we can expect to see in early to mid-spring.
Goodbye winter thrushes
Those departing our shores in April include fieldfare and redwing. Those in Northern Scotland might even spot these birds breeding in their area.
Hello early songbirds
This time of year brings a veritable cacophony of chirruping, tweeting voices; a cheery chorus that lifts the spirits as much as the longer, warmer days. Blackcaps and chiffchaffs are among the first to arrive, sometimes even before the end of March, while housemartins and swallows tend to appear as April goes on.
Many of the birds that spend summer in Britain do not arrive until late April or even May. These include the cuckoo, dotterel, redstart, spotted flycatcher, swift and various warblers, including the sedge warbler. This bird is usually found where there are reeds or other water-loving vegetation, and their eclectic song style and lightly-coloured supercilium usually betrays their presence. By contrast, a male redstart is relatively easy to see, due to its bright orange chest and tail.
Keep your eyes peeled, whether you’re relaxing on your rattan garden furniture, or out and about further afield. You never know which of our winged wonders you might see next.