Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Nocmig update - June 2020

Black-tailed Godwit - a new addition to the nocmig list mid-month
After a fascinating and productive first two months (see here and here), June inevitably saw expectations significantly lowered for nocturnal migration recording here in midtown Filey, for a few reasons. Firstly, the drop-off in migrant activity, as the spring seasons ebbs; secondly, the ramping up of noise from the gull colony; and thirdly, the ever-shortening length of nights. There were, however, some highlights and surprises along the way, justifying the efforts involved....

Curlew - one of the more regular waders so far

Briefly back to those negating factors. Re: the slowdown in migration, this was always going to happen in June, and the diversity of species recorded, as well as their frequency, was in fact better than realistically expected. Regarding the gulls, well, living in the midst of a Herring Gull colony is one thing; purposely recording their ever-increasing, nightmarish soundwall, and then analysing it visually and aurally, has to be one of the less sane aspects of my birding passion, especially with the added squeals, screams and whines of the chicks...

(Euro) Golden Plover - a new addition on 10th
... but as long as there were odd diamonds in the mine, it was worth to carry on digging all month. When factoring in the aformentioned soundwall (as well as the receding nocturnal recording period) - realistically, a couple of hours each night of anything like analysable material - the variety and abundance of records was actually pleasantly surprising.

Of the 'stock' species, Oystercatcher registrations dropped, but interestingly, Water Rails (five, up from singles on April and May), Moorhens (30, up from 12 in April and 24 in May), and Grey Herons (11 - twice as many as previous months) all rose significantly, while Little Grebes (two - as previous months) and Curlews (eight) held their own.

Shorebird variety and abundance was down as anticipated, but Dunlin, Redshank, Knot (3rd), Whimbrel and the aforementioned Curlews all made the tape, while two new species put in (sonic) appearances - European Golden Plover on 10th, and a Black-tailed Godwit on 18th.

After the passerine discoveries of April and May (particularly the vocal, night-migrating warblers - a real thrill), I expected little or nothing in June, not just because of the drastic reduction in activity, but also the difficulty in picking them out in the checkerboard gull-soaked sonogram... but fantastically, I managed to pull out my second Spotted Flycatcher of the season, on 9th - which is exactly two more Spotted Flycatchers than I've seen in Filey this spring! So, another good month; July may be a more challenging still, but stay tuned to see what transpires....