After the nocmig rarities of both May and June, it's almost a relief to report that July was, overall, pretty muted for nocturnal migration recording across my local recording sites. I reshuffled the pack a little regarding where I rolled the recorders, with the house (study window) one still mothballed on account of the Herring Gull colony (which is still very much at full, nerve-shredding force), and the one in Flamborough village running as and when logistics allowed.
Recordings up at Filey North Cliff were again nightly, however, thanks to the pre-progammable convenience of an Audiomoth, which continues to perform perfectly with the huge bonus of weekly (as opposed to daily) pick-ups and drop-offs; a second Audiomoth, meanwhile, was deployed at Buckton, where it'll be running throughout the autumn (more below). So three out of four sites were active, which will do fine for now.....
Filey North Cliff
An overall pretty quiet month was nonetheless illuminated by (yet another) Bittern on 1st, the second nocmig July record in a row, the second for the site this year (after one in May) and the third overall, in less than a year's efforts up there. For a species which is, diurnally, less-than-annual in the Filey area, nocmig is clearly rewriting this species' status locally.
And after a blank spring thus far across the board for Quail, not one but two overflew the recorder on the night of the 4th, at 0133hrs and 0256hrs respectively; I thought I'd missed out this year, but their famously extended migration period paid out in the end. Again, these are the only local records this year so far of a less-than-annual species locally, and nocmig is shedding new light on their local status.
Otherwise, it was generally a case of small numbers of a fairly limited variety of species, which consisted mainly of returning shorebirds - including regular Dunlins, Oystercatchers, Curlews and Redshanks, plus a scattering of Whimbrel, several single and small flocks of Turnstones, odd Knot, a couple of Common Sandpipers, and a Greenshank (on 17th). Water Rails and Moorhens clocked in on a couple of nights each, as did both Black-headed and Common Gulls, while all three commoner terns were good enough to make appearances (Arctic, Common and Sandwich), all between 21st and 25th.
The Flamborough village recorder was deployed on 22 nights in July, and picked up a very similar species variety and abundance to the above - Oystercatchers, Dunlins, Curlews, Whimbrels, Turnstones and Redshanks occured on multiple nights in small numbers, with single Ringed Plover, Knot and Little Ringed Plover also recorded; Little Grebe and Moorhen figured a couple of times, with Common and Sandwich Terns screeching over on 16th and 29th (both sp) and 19th (just Sandwich). An as-yet-unidentified call on the night of 8th we strongly suspect to be a male Cuckoo, but aren't 100% as yet (see below); comments welcomed.
The Empire expands.... after a couple of test sessions in the spring (which picked up odd migrating waders, and established Water Rail as a breeding species), I'll be running an Audiomoth at Buckton throughout the autumn. I began recording on the 19th, and early results have been promising: migrating wader species picked up so far have included Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Redshank and Whimbrel, while the 'collateral' sounds there routinely include foxes, Barn, Tawny and Little Owls, and (again) Water Rails.
Here's to a busy nocturnal August here on the coast.....