Sunday, 18 October 2015

Norse Invaders

Yesterday was one of those days where with a bit of hindsight I would have sat on a chair in my garden from first light to mid-afternoon counting Thrushes and I guess that my Fieldfare total would have been in the region of 2-3,000 birds heading north with perhaps half as much of Redwings! However, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

At first light whilst pulling my wellies on at the boot of my car I could hear Redwings and Fieldfares moving over in the half-light but I couldn't see how many. When I got to the Obs a few minutes later I had about 15-20 Fieldfares head east and a similar number of Redwings. At this stage no indication of the huge numbers of Thrushes that would head northeast that day.

I had fairly clear skies with a 10 mph northeasterly wind as I set off on my walk. I thought the vis was a bit thin on the ground, but one of the interesting movements was a flock of 150 Jackdaws that came high in off the sea and then dropped out of the sky on to the school buildings. There's quite a healthy population of Jackdaws at the school and I'm guessing that they had 'called' the moving Jackdaws in.

Buzzards are now fairly regular within the Obs recording area but not at this particular spot so it was great to see one coasting in to land on the fields being mobbed by a Kestrel. Owls were certainly a feature of the morning and a pair of Barn Owls were hunting for a good hour after first light over the farm fields and 'a' or 'the' Little Owl had returned to its winter roost site.

Pink-footed Geese weren't on the move this morning but about 600 dropped in to the farm fields across the road. I had a quick look on the sea but it was quiet with just 15 Cormorants, eight Eiders, seven Common Scoters, a Razorbill and a Guillemot.

The only obvious grounded migrants that I had were three Redwings and two Song Thrushes. As it was Gail's birthday it was time to cut the birding short and head home to ensure no loss of brownie points!

It was back at home that I noticed the movement of Fieldfares. I got out of my car and could hear Fieldfare calling and when I looked up I could see about half a dozen distant birds. But when I lifted my bins to look at them, there were 125 with six Redwings! Over the next couple of hours I had a further 325 Fieldfares and 15 Redwings!

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