Champions of the Flyway!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Nocmig Update - Autumn '21 (Filey)

Jack Snipe - a new addition to the nocmig list in November (see soundfile below) 

It's been a while since my last Nocmig round-up (see here) - which kind of tells its own story - but in the interests of consistency, here's a summary of results from my Filey recordings over the autumn, covering September to November inclusive. I ran the AudioMoth up on the North Cliff for most of the period (although I lost a couple of weeks due to tech/human errors); in contrast, it took until late September for the gulls to reach anything like tolerable levels on my street, and so recordings from the study window were confined to more promising nights in October when I happened to be around (totalling 14 through the month).


(Recordings are best listened to with headphones) 

North Cliff 
After an encouraging start to the autumn migration season through August, pickings were pretty slim in September, with low diversity and abundance. Waders continued to provide the majority of registrations, with regular Curlews, Oystercatchers, Dunlins and Golden Plovers, plus the odd Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel. Once again, all three tern species put in appearances at the start of the month; towards the end of the month, meanwhile, the first passerines were recorded in the shape of Song Thrush, Robin and Skylark, and the welcome yapping of many Pink-feet (from 23rd) was topped only by the beautiful trumpeting of Whooper Swans (on 29th).


October was also pretty quiet overall, with most nights registering only a few, expected species; there were exceptions, however, with eleven migratory species on the night of the 8th, the most numerous of which was Dunlin, with flocks and individuals throughout the night. A late Arctic Tern on 10th coincided with diurnal records around the same time, while the first of several strong Redwing influxes occurred on the following night (321), followed by 119 on 12th. The latter part of the month was a little more productive, with a better showing of expected late autumn migrants (including thrushes, Curlews, Golden Plovers, and Whooper Swans), but the big event was the regularity and huge numbers of Pink-footed Geese - many flocks on many nights, often consisting of many, many birds.  


Despite only running for 12 nights (due to poor weather and tech/human error), November was arguably the most prodctive period (in parallel with last year). Small numbers of expected late autumn species were the norm, but replaced by far better results and some excellent nights when the conditions finally became encouraging. Consistently double-figure counts of Redwings became 419 on 13th, a night which also featured 112 Blackbirds, a surprising 34 Fieldfares (by far the least vocal of the thrushes on nocmig), Dunlins, Song Thrushes and a bonus small flock of Black-tailed Godwits.


The next two nights were also pleasingly productive (again because of, finally, beneficial conditions), with 255 Redwings and 121 Blackbirds among a good cast on 14th, and an even better selection on 15th (including Golden Plovers, Snipe, Skylark, Wigeon, thrushes and huge number of Pink-feet), headlined by my first nocmig Jack Snipe, a species I've been hoping for for some time. So, a late flurry and happy ending to what was a pretty muted nocmig period overall over North Cliff.


Filey Town 
As mentioned, noise pollution (gulls and humans), conditions (mostly lousy) and availability (I was away for much of the period) were big factors in the reduction of nocmig recordings from the study window this autumn, but even so, there were pleasing results. Wildfowl included lots of Pinks, a few Whoopers and my first Common Scoters in many months, passerines included Dunnock and Skylark, local owls were represented by nightly Tawny rackets and yet more evidence of Barn Owl crosstown traffic, and a good arrival of Redwings on 11th (197) preceded the best count of the autumn on 12th, with 542, and 85 Blackbirds, among other migrants.


Full nightly counts available hereFlamborough autumn nocmig summary to follow (when I've gone through seven weeks of recordings....!)