Black-tailed Godwit have started arriving in reasonable numbers at Leighton Moss in recent days. Several of these have long histories of spring sightings at Leighton and other very local sites having spent the winter further south on the Dee. Two are of note with several years of good arrival data for Leighton Moss. The first seen date is listed below for each year they have been seen at Leighton:
It would be very easy to say 'global warming' or 'unseasonably hot weather' is driving the early arrival date however I think it's more complex. This winter has been fairly dry and many of the sites used early in spring by these birds (Lytham Hall, fields on the field) are only good feeding in wet conditions so maybe the early arrival is more a case of lack of good feeding throughout the tidal cycle rather than an early migration north.
Thanks to all the observers at Leighton Moss for seeing and reporting these birds to the ringers (in this case in Iceland). The arrival and departure dates are really useful so even if the bird was seen yesterday reporting it again is important to understand how the Godwit use different landscapes in a changing world.