Honey buzzards make second surprise UK invasion
When a mass migration of honey buzzards occured over England eight years ago, it was described as a 'once-in-a-lifetime-experience'.
However, eight years later, it has happened again.
Only a few dozen pairs of these 5ft wing span summer-visiting birds of prey nest in Britain and on a typical mid-September day the national sightings barely reach double figures.
So clearly something extraordinary was in progress when there was a sudden flood of reports from every coastal county between Northumberland and East Anglia.
Most are believed to be the youngsters of birds nesting in forests across northern Europe that have been drifted off course by recent bad weather after beginning their migration to Africa for the winter.
Normally birds of prey do not cross large expanses of water, so what happened in 2000, was thought to not be able to happen again in the same generation.
On average more than 5,000 honey buzzards migrate over Falsterbo, an island in the narrow gap between southern Sweden and Denmark each autumn. Over the four days before the UK arrival more than 400 had been counted there
Normally they would remain over the European mainland as they continue south but that route could well have brought them in contact with the deep depression that had recently deluged Britain with heavy rain.
Bad weather over the North Sea could have caused them to come back to the UK.