Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Visible Migration

Local ♂Bullfinch
Another weekend out on the local canal system and a further sign of visible migration in progress with several Swift and a constant trickle of Swallows, House Martins and Yellow Wagtails. During our Saturday evening BBQ at least 3 Whimbrel were heard passing overhead before the rain set in.

Sunday morning produced 2 Hobby and good numbers of Warblers passing through, in particular Blackcaps, but smaller numbers of Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat also included 2 Lesser Whitethroat.

Similar to last Thursdays visit Brandon Marsh this morning was awash once again with Warblers feeding up on the many fruit baring trees and plants: Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler. A very pristine looking Willow Tit also made a brief appearance. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to connect with any of the recently reported Spotted Flycatchers.

Today also had several large Tit flocks, always worth a look, and produced Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest within. On the pools the first Pochard have begun arriving back with 4 on East Marsh Pool; 3 Snipe also flew in during the course of the morning and 4 Green Sandpiper’s were on West Marsh Pool.

The biggest surprise of today’s Brandon visit however was when I was walking through the Central Marsh area with Paul Norman. I can’t remember if I’ve ever heard a Tawny Owl calling during the middle of the day before. It took us so much by surprise that Paul, who was a little way ahead, thought it was me having a joke.

This afternoon a tour of the marina grounds produced more evidence of birds fattening up with a feeding frenzy in many of the Bramble and Hawthorn bushes. This evening large numbers of House Martins have taken precedence over the Swallows and can be seen skimming through taking on water as they pass.

A Sparrowhawk was also flushed from the dog-walking paddock as I passed through, not surprising really as the paddock also contained large flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch. Around 15 Tree Sparrows were also very vocal today and it’s good to see our local population still doing so well. Our Pied Wagtail flock is also on the increase with at least 100 birds coming in to roost yesterday evening, in fact they are once again beginning to arrive as I post. Families of Common Buzzard and Raven are also entertaining us with amazing aerobatics as they take to the thermals.

With the poor light and rain this morning photography was at a premium but I did manage the above ♂Bullfinch at the marina late evening, always a pleasure to see.