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Mad Dog's autumn trekking

Posted by on November 17, 2012 9:03 PM | 

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Busy day at work today, with not a lot of time to stop and smell the breeze, so here's John "Mad Dog" Bannon's take on the autumn.
Only John would delight in calling a former industrial site (great as the Sandplant Compound is) a "Bird Observatory", but then, he's not called Mad Dog for nothing.
Relax everyone, he's back on the leash now - till next spring at least, when I suspect the Trektellen-driven insomniac will be up on the Grassy Knoll for another season.
Many thanks for the piece John...

"With the visible migration (vismig) autumn season tailing off now, I thought Birdblog readers might like to see my summary of migration highlights at www.Trektellen.nl registered sites in the North West throughout September/October.
Although mostly concerning commoner species, when compared to Birdguides for example, it does make interesting reading and Marshside BO had one or two good days and species.
My thanks to other less lunatic 'vismigers' especially Graham Clarkson, Pete Allen and Barry McCarthy for their early morning company - but I am not alone in my vismiging addiction as you will see below:-

NORTH WEST TREKTELLEN SITES VISMIG HIGHLIGHTS Autumn 2012

A large number of corvids, especially Jackdaws and Jays, were recorded with at least 2,000 over Walney BO, including 920 south on 10th October; 397 over Hale Head (Rob Cockbain/Jeff Clarke) on 26th October; 360 over Winter Hill (Andy Makin/Phil Rhodes) on 7th October and 345 over Fleetwood BO Ian Gardner) on 14th October. On several dates throughout this period we did see large numbers of Jackdaws at Marshside BO, but I stupidly ignored them as local birds having a day out ... dooh!
Jays were also much in migration evidence mode, part of a nationwide influx of probably Continental/Scandinavian birds. Small numbers were regularly recorded at most local sites with the largest day totals of >50 birds at Winter Hill and Hale Head. However this does not begin to compare with an amazing 668 over Hunstanton Cliffs (Norfolk) on 6th October, after over 400 the previous day!
Coal Tits also appear to be having an 'irruption year' with Heysham BO (Pete Marsh/Jean Roberts) recording >300 through in the second week of October, with 164 on 11th October. Lancashire Trektellen stalwarts, Maurice Jones and Frank Walsh et al, had 146 on their early morning vismig watches at Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes on 8th/9th October.
Single southbound Swallows were still being recorded in early November; Walney BO on 4th and at Red Rocks (Jane Turner) on 3rd. An amazing 11,651 passed south over Winter Hill in 10 hours on 22nd September, accompanied by some 3,481 House Martins. Red Rocks must have seemed like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's film 'The Birds' on 29th October when 47,520 Starlings passed over in less than two hours, with one single flock estimated as being 5km long! Woodpigeon (aka Woodpig) migration is often concentrated into very narrow streams and specific sites, with Hale Head often being our busiest local watchpoint - their highest total being 7,879 on 26th October.
Rarities recorded at the 10 North West Trektellen sites, included at least six Yellow-browed Warblers, with two at Marshside, where we also had a Nuthatch, Common Crane and a probable juvenile Pallid Harrier. Other unusual/scarce species recorded were a Hawfinch over Hale Head; 10 Sandwich Terns in one tight flock over Winter Hill plus a single Gannet, Small numbers of Lapland Buntings were also seen at several sites.
Conveniently for the current BTO Thrush Survey, Winter Hill recorded 36 Ring Ouzels from late September throughout October and some large Redwing and Fieldfare flocks were seen at various sites. On 30th October Heysham BO had a 'fall' of >180 continental Blackbirds and some 50 Song Thrushes.
Might try Marshside BO for 1,000 plus Waxwings over in the morning?
IYDGOYDSN"

Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...

4 Comments

Hi John, a male Blackcap appeared in my garden today and joined in with my Sparrows in the birdbath and in the Pyracantha as one or more of them do every winter at about this time.

Great White Egret, Spoonbill, 3 Barnacles and Pale-bellied Brent Goose (with 3.5K Pinkies) on my section of Banks Marsh during Ribble WeBS today.
Usual large numbers of common stuff plus couple each of Merlin and Peregrine.

Little Owl at Lunt Meadows yesterday. Also saw a male Hen Harrier there.

Female Hen Harrier over out marsh seen from the Sandplant yesterday, 3pm.

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