Champions of the Flyway!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reighton Sands, 9th Oct '17 - more quality vismig action

Woke up (having barely slept, with a heavy cold) thinking I may as well be ill on a clifftop counting migrants than sat in a dark room groaning dramatically, and so drove the ten minutes south to my new, lip-smackin' visible migration spot at Reighton Sands (above) for dawn. Five and half hours and lots of action later, and surprisingly I felt a lot better.... not least because of the cone-faced beast below, which bounded past me and over towards Buckton early on. What a cracker, too - Hawfinch is significantly less than annual here in the Filey recording area and it's a proper chunky vismig prize.

A rich and varied cast over the session included Barnacle Geese (slipping through the jet stream of a flock of Pink-feet), a single Whooper, plenty of finches (from Greenfinches to redpolls) and buntings (a rare three-Emberiza day, with lots of Reed, a few Yellowhammers and a Corn), Tree Sparrows, Skylarks, and - as the skies cleared and the temperature rose - a succession of Common Buzzards incoming from various directions. Hard to know exactly how many non-locals were involved, but it was at least twelve, and a Red Kite was an added bonus.

So, with a raised vantage point / wind-break created by the pill box, a stunning, unhindered panorama, lots of birds and a distinct lack of dog-walkers, golfers or indeed any other human distractions, it's a winner. More to come.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Inbound Buzzards

Among the hoards of southbound geese yesterday, a few raptors were on the move, including several Common Buzzards - two of which came in off the seas and were soon greeted by the corvid police and then strong-armed inland.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Whooper for every thousand Pink-feet

An epic day of pure migration at my new and frankly beautiful vismig spot at Reighton Sands - more specifically, on a WW2 pill-box with a breathtaking 360 degree view at the south-eastern corner of the Observatory recording area. I arrived before dawn and the clear skies and strong westerlies promised little in the way of passerine action, but four Whooper Swans - the first of the year, and a wonderful sight as they battled towards me in the golden first light - bode well for the big stuff. A couple of hundred Pink-feet in small groups in the first few hours was, at the time, the best of the season thus far, but with a day off and nothing too urgent to attend to, I was back out at 1145 after a short break for a late breakfast.

Which was a very good decision. Four hours of almost constant Pink-footed action followed, with skeins appearing from all directions - from miles inland to miles out to sea - often at great height and invisible to the naked eye (and at times barely visible with just binculars); many approached from the north, but as the session wore on, more and more appeared from over the sea, battling into the strengthening westerly.
In those four hours I counted 4,233 in 53 skeins, smashing the day record by a considerable margin - and with a couple of hundred this morning (and several hundred more from the Gap this evening), our final Filey day count will be close to 5,000.

Not-so-domesticus with montana allies