Posts Tagged ‘Migration

08
Nov
17

On the crest

The sky was grey. In the distance it had invisibly stitched itself to the sea and the north wind was bringing in curtains of rain. The hedge I can see from my bedroom window is crying out for a Pallas’s Warbler. I stood beneath it waiting for the tell-tale call. A little patience and a Long tailed Tit flock lolly-popped their way through the foliage around me. Among them something smaller. As it came into view I was let down gently by this yellow booted mahicanned Goldcrest.

Advertisements
16
Oct
17

Elusive

I’m not sure if the term ‘elusive’ is always applied properly or not. On Scillies last week the Spotted Crake took some seeing. It was broadcast as ‘elusive’. Now does that mean only showing distantly? or does it mean it only shows briefly and is somewhat furtive? Well, neither applied to the Spotted Crake. It just didn’t show for long periods. It took us around four visits to connect. But when we did see it … the thing was all over us for what seemed like ages.

02
Nov
15

SEO

I was returning from running a cetacean workshop at Cley on Saturday evening when I received a message. It was friend Andrew who said he had found a dead Short-eared Owl on the nearby disused railway line.

It’s always very sad to see something dead, particularly when they are so beautiful. In fact that very afternoon we had been watching two Shorties from the shingle ridge at Cley marshes; presumably they had recently come in off the sea. Migration is a wonderful spectacle but not without its hazards. Andrew’s owl had probably hit cables and succumbed to the injuries but otherwise looked in good condition.

Short eared Owl

 

05
Oct
15

Surprise

Given the invasive numbers of Yellow browed Warblers that were turning up further north and given I’d already found three here on the hill last week not but 800m from Falcon Cottage; I wasn’t in the least bit surprised when one started calling from the garden on Saturday. It or probably another brighter individual is still here today.

I wasn’t even surprised when yesterday a Lapland Bunting flew over the house; and I certainly expected the sixty or so Blackbirds, Redpolls, Siskins and Swallows that were using the garden as a staging post on their way south. What I wasn’t expecting however was what I flushed from a bush across the field.

When dawn broke I went for my usual walk locally. The mist was transient and at times quite thick as it overpowered the sun which was desperately trying to burn it off. I checked the far corner of the field and had given up on finding anything of true note when I noticed around 50 Blue Tits on the wires above the large hawthorn. They weren’t happy. I expected to raise my bins and see one of the two local Kestrels tolerating some incessant mobbing. Instead a Grey Shrike bolted from its perch over my head and landed way distant. Detail lost in the mist. From what I saw I’m pretty sure it was a Great Grey Shrike and not something rarer. Surprising yes! Given I’d not heard of any others this autumn throughout the whole of the country; although one at Horsey around the coast made landfall later the same day.

Yellow browed Warbler

 

06
Sep
15

Catching Flies

Late last month I was waiting patiently for a Booted Warbler to show in a bank of coastal bushes. As I stood there a small piebald object skimmed over my left shoulder and alighted in the bushes I was watching. It had come off the sea. A Pied Flycatcher.

It took a little time to gather itself. It perched and preened. After removing the toil of a long flight it soon set about feeding and doing what flycatchers do best.

Pied Flycatcher

17
Apr
15

Just so lucky

It’s awful isn’t it? That feeling of missing out can sometimes leave you immensely deflated.

Having seen Andy’s tweet saying he’d had a Ring Ouzel in the garden down the road I thought I’d better get out and see what else was planning to spend the rest of Wednesday evening here on the hill. As I walked from the door the clatter of a Ring Ouzel disappearing over the hedge and heading high to the west was enough to convince me I’d made the right decision.

Out onto the lane and a further three came from the trees and headed north. We had a fall of Rousels! They’re always so timid these thrushes. It’s hard to get close and the few shots I got of these birds were of their rear ends disappearing into the distance.

I walked for another half hour or so and was watching a cluster of Wheatear on the ploughed field when a text burst onto my phone. It was from Sharon. It read; ‘Female Ring Ouzel bathing in the pond’; Bugger!

My speed hastened and I got back soon after but it had gone. Photography opportunity missed. Despite a vigil looking out over the pond until dark just a Blackbird came into bathe. We’ve had Ring Ouzels in the garden before but never bathing in the pond and you could wait a lifetime for that to happen again. A moment not to be topped and it had passed me by. Not to worry, Sharon had seen it and she was happy.

It was only the following morning as I glanced out over the garden that I saw a corking male had come into bathe! … and… a female too! Apparently lightening does strike twice!

Ring Ousel

10
Mar
15

Migration of the Cranes

Looking for Woodpeckers in deep forest we’d been aware of the sound of Cranes for most of the time. However, it wasn’t until we were nearing the end of the day that we were in a position to take a look at them. We found a small party in a winter wheat field. Parking the car at the roadside we got out to take a closer look … I couldn’t believe what we saw.

Last week we were among the gentle rolling hills of the Champagne region in France. We were there to watch the spring Crane migration and to see a few woodpeckers. The sun was out and the wind blowing gently. We had already seen cranes in some number, eleven hundred crowded into one field no less and I thought perhaps we had arrived in France a little late for further numbers.

As we stood on the roadside that evening a few cranes were flying over; I looked out southward towards the horizon to see ribbon after ribbon of birds migrating north towards us. Each flock was followed by another and then another. Tens became hundreds and hundreds became thousands. We estimated in the one hour before dark we had fifteen thousand fly over us that fine evening. As we left still more were coming.

2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1602 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1678 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1733 2015 03 05 Cranes Lac Du Der France_Z5A1788




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  

Archives

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: