Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mipit Floodgates Open

Perhaps 'floodgates' is a bit strong but there was a noticeable passage of Mipits this morning and I was in the vis mig 'Bermuda Triangle' of Over Wyre! I was working at several sites this morning and I my first port of call was in the Cocker's Dyke area. As soon as I got out of my car at 0815 Mipits were on the move. It is very difficult counting vis when you are trying to survey hedgerows! You tend to have both ears trained skywards with one eye and the other eye looking at the hedge! Within a few minutes I had logged 60 in my notebook, but there was easily 2-3 times as many as this. A few Skylarks and Chaffinch were also on the move with the Mipits and the Chaffinch were my first true vis birds of the autumn.

On Terra firma I had a flock of 31 Collared Doves hanging around some pheasant pens hoping to be able to get access to some hand-outs. I had 2 Tree Sparrows in a hedge early on and then 24 of their House cousins at a different location later on. Four grey lumps in a willow bush materialised into 4 1st winter Grey Herons and in an adjacent field 63 Curlews fed. The only raptor I had here was a single imm. male Sparrowhawk.

Next stop was some farmland close to Preesall and Mipits continued to move south and were joined by some other northern arrivals in the form of 67 Pink-footed Geese. My only Grey Wagtail of the morning flew over here and 25 Goldfinch fed in a weedy field.

I had lunch in the car park on top of the sea wall at Lane Ends. I was doing my usual trick of trying to do two, no three things at once. One eye on the salt marsh and the other reading 'British Birds' whilst eating my sarnies. I was reading an article on the 'Ageing and sexing of Asian chats: Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Rufous-tailed Robin and Red-flanked Bluetail'. I gave up half way through as I couldn't concentrate on the paper and get all those moult nuances in my head! Instead I put both eyes on the marsh and had 2 Little Egrets and 80 Pink-feet south.

Lunch over and it was on to Scronkey and all I had here was an obliging Wheatear feeding around some rubble. I was just about to take a picture of it when it was flushed by a guy on a quad bike. Mind you even if I had 'snapped' it the picture would probably have been crap!

My final location of the day was on Broad Lane on Rawcliffe Moss. A few Mipits were still going over, but these were probably 'off-passage' birds moving around as were the 15 Swallows and 12 Linnets. In addition to 1 or 2 Kestrels that I had during the day, my third raptor species were 3 Buzzards that came out of a piece of woodland on the moss.

I also had three of the characters below. Apparently they are Reeve's Pheasant, although you probably already knew that, and they didn't half look out of place running across a grass margin and disappearing in to thick cover.

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