Search This Blog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birds in the hand, birds in the bush, Owls in the air.... Autumn migration time again at Flamborough

Here's a 'quicky' from Flamborough and Buckton ....a day out birding yesterday with Rob to catch a bit of incoming migration. Given the north easterlie's and associated rain over the past couple of days I for one was expectant of squadrons of Redwings & Fieldfares advancing into the UK over the North sea and a bit of Autumn migration mayhem on the headland.

Didn't quite pan out as planned but hey it rarely does! Equally rarely is there never something a bit 'unexpected' turning up - that's the nature of birds on the move and although we dipped out on a Great Grey Shrike and by all accounts most of the winter thrushes made landfall in Norfolk, we had more than enough to keep us happy throughout the day.

2 caught & ringed Stonechats

You've heard the saying 'a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush' .. of course you have, but what does mean? I should know but it's an easy google search so if you're bothered you'll know soon, but by way of a slightly clumsy link here's 2 birds in the hand and 1 in a bush!
1 of many Goldcrests on the headland
The Stonechats are male and female and both immature. They were both caught in mist nets at Buckton (nr Bempton) and then ringed so that we can learn more about their movements in the coming years. Its unlikely and rather a fanciful idea but maybe they're brother & sister from the same brood migrating together?! Like I say, a bit fanciful, but one thing we do know is that as with the vast majority of small birds on the headland they've recently flown across the North Sea from somewhere like Scandinavia.

European Robin
It was good to catch up with Mark Thomas again (the Buckton Birder) - he was the one doing all the ringing and a mighty fine job he does too. The Goldcrest above had evaded his nets for the time being - it was one of about 10 we flushed from a cliff side ravine in which we also disturbed a roosting Barn Owl, but he'd already ringed plenty and there were maybe upwards of 100 that we recorded in the general vicinity. Although we didn't see them, he'd also ringed Whitethroat and Garden Warbler (both very late migrants). The most obvious passage migrants around were of course Robins and I'd guess he must have ringed scores of them as they were everywhere!

Short Eared Owl, Buckton

Little chance of this getting caught up in the mist nets though, a superb Short Eared Owl we watched in off the sea and then get predictably harassed by corvids!

Yeah the light wasn't the greatest!

Back at Flamborough and doing a stint of sea watching from the lighthouse these were a pair of unexpected ducks - Velvet Scoter. Much rarer than the most often seen Common Scoter they're a treat to see so close to coastline. Mainly coastal in their wintering grounds south of the Arctic circle, they're more associated with boulder strewn lakes and wooded shorelines in their breeding grounds of Northernmost Europe

We also had a few Red Throated Divers on the sea here, plus some Common Scoter and someone had recently spotted a Grey Phalarope and a Little Auk on the sea earlier in the morning. The only other thing we saw on the sea were this pair of frolicking Seals ... looked like they were having fun in the warm and mild conditions.

Other birds of note both here and at Buckton were some impressive numbers of passing Skylarks (200ish), a Wheatear, about 20 Song Thrushes and 200+ Blackbirds, 30 Meadow Pipits, 1 Brambling, 1 Siskin, 10ish Chiff Chaffs and 10ish Blackcaps (one of which, a female with the wind blowing its red cap into a plume I thought for a second was a Waxwing.... one of those slightly embarrassing id moments!) Oh and we did see a few Redwings (about 15) and 2 Fieldfares eventually.

We might not have had the numbers of migrating birds, the weather was maybe too quiet, but always good to be out and about when any birds are coming in from distant lands and moving through in front of you. That Short Eared Owl was the highlight for me ...a good bird to have anywhere.

And you just can't leave the cliffs at Buckton without photographing at least 1 Gannet and hoping that it comes out like one of Steve Race's!

Buckton Gannet

......maybe next time!!

No comments:

Post a Comment