28 October 2012

A weekend of watching the sky

This weekend has been nothing short of wonderful. No patch ticks, no patch year-ticks even, but viz-migging at its best on the Flats has produced stacks of migrating birds. The most numerous have been Woodpigeons, followed by Fieldfare, but for the brave few who stood and froze their nads off at the watchpoint, it was boot-filling time.

A few highlights from Saturday

- 125 Lapwings, all west. Usually this number of birds would indicate thick snow and minor blizzard activity, so who know why they came through, but come through they did, mostly in large flocks of 30+. I flushed a couple off the Police Scrape at first light, along with 2 Snipe, little knowing this was just the start.

- 2 Swallows, both north. Fools. Easily my latest Swallow on the patch.

- 500 Woodpigeon, another fairly large movement.

And from today, Sunday

- 600+ Fieldfare, almost all west

- 1500 Woodpigeon, all south. It was like reliving the Blitz, massive squadrons moving slowly over. I'd had 400 in the first quarter of an hour, and then another 600 came through in two minutes. The sky was black (well, grey and white and stupid....)

- 150+ Chaffinch, commonest finch by far.

- 50+ Linnet, including one flock of 20+ birds. This is basically unprecedented.

- 500+ Starling, almost all west. At one point about 150 flew under one of the uber-flocks of Woodpigeon, which had me putting my tin helmet on and diving for cover.

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