Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Goodbye Ophelia. Hello Birds.

Thank goodness. Hurricane Ophelia passed over us without doing too much damage apart from destroying any chance of birding or ringing. Hopefully, and as the wind subsided throughout Tuesday night, it opened up a window of opportunity for migration to take place. 

I met with Andy at 0645 on Wednesday morning at Oakenclough where the trees barely moved in the still of post-dawn. We set up shop and hoped for a good catch of birds to ring and where with a little time between the processing of birds we might observe “vis-mig”, visible migration.
The Ringing Point

It’s in the half-light that we mostly catch Redwings but we caught just the one this morning. And then within an hour of dawn that small arrival of Redwings stopped completely and we caught no more. Of the forty or so Redwings that arrived in fives and tens most did so from the east and then left very quickly and headed off west towards the coast.



The hoped for vis-mig continued to be very slow with movement comprised of the early Redwings and groups of Woodpigeons totalling 90+ flying strongly south and quite high in the clear skies. It was almost 10am before finches appeared in the shape and sounds of Lesser Redpolls, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. Even then the large number of 120+ Goldfinches comprised of probably local feeding flocks as distinct from true migrants. Small numbers of Lesser Redpoll arrived and also Chaffinches but not in the numbers we hoped for. And where are the Siskins this year? 

Mostly our birds arrived unseen in the form of Goldcrests, an unexpected Reed Bunting and a rather nice first year Blackcap. We made up our total of 38 birds with the usual Blue Tits, Great Tits and local Goldfinch.

Total - 38 new birds of 9 species with nil recaptures from previous occasions. 11 Goldcrest, 7 Lesser Redpoll, 8 Goldfinch, 4 Great Tit, 4 Blue Tit, singles of Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Dunnock and Redwing. 



Lesser Redpoll

Other birds seen this morning 2 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 4+ Pied Wagtail, 4+ Bullfinch, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Stay tuned. We may try again tomorrow if the weather holds.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, I am glad you did not have damage from the Hurricane Ophelia. Love the closeups of your ringed birds. The Blackcap is one of my favorites.

Happy birding, enjoy your day!

Linda said...

So the finches are late sleepers, then! They are all beautiful, Phil! Thank you so much for sharing.

Stuart Price said...

Just think of all those scarcities and vagrants you'll trap tomorrow. 20 Firecrest i predict...........

Lowcarb team member said...

We had some weird looking skies during Ophelia (such a lovely name) and many areas were quite badly affected, with schools and businesses shut. October does seem to be a month where storm clouds and winds can gather!

But I do like the selection of birds here Phil, thanks.

All the best Jan

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