Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Chat After Breakfast

I worked form home today and before I started this morning I gave myself an hour off to go birding after breakfast. I only had an hour to spare so I nipped to Rossall School and walked round the farm there.

As soon as I got out of the car I could tell that there was more around than last Sunday morning as bits and pieces were calling in that way that you can tell they are migrants. I suppose an excited or agitated call is what I am trying to explain.

As I headed along the hedge along the big ditch I had a couple of Song Thrushes zip over and Robins 'ticked' to each other. It was clear with an east-southeasterly wind of perhaps 10 mph. Dunnocks were very obvious this morning and I had 8 calling from the bushes as I walked round. Blackbirds were equally obvious with up to eleven counted on my walk and all of these were fresh birds in.

I had a Brambling call overhead but I couldn't get on to it and I had four calling Reed Buntings, but like their northern cousin I couldn't get on to them either.

Next up were two raptor species; a Kestrel carrying mammalian prey and a female Sparrowhawk that 'flap-flap-glided' her way north. As I headed towards the sea wall on the northern edge of the fields there is a series of small fields with wire fences and ditches, and a pair of Stonechats were making their way from fence to ditch as I walked past.

There was some visible migration this morning and it was probably what you would expect for this time of year. Interestingly six Collared Doves went south and I am always a bit cautious about declaring whether they are on vis or not. But these six birds went past in a group of four and two, and were heading very purposefully south.

The Jackdaws were by far the most numerous visible migrant and I had a total of 175 calling excitedly as they came from the north and headed south. Ten late Meadow Pipits also headed south as did 16 Greenfinch. The single Rock Pipit I had went north, but this could easily be a local bird moving along the coast to feed.

There is something magical about seeing passerines out at sea that really evokes the challenge of migration and illustrates the spectacle of it. As I got to the sea wall I set my scope up and had a look on the sea and picked up a group of 40 Starlings belting south skimming the wave tops. Stunning. There were very few 'real' sea birds other than 14 Common Scoter and five male Eiders.

The walk back to the car was fairly uneventful but at least my 'chat' after breakfast had set me up for the day.

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