Monday, 1 October 2012

Subbuteo and Shovelers

The journey to school

Being observant on the train paid some fine dividends today. I generally don't see much, but having found Cattle Egret and Black Redstart along this train line before, I generally keep my eyes open just in case! and today it worked out, with a HOBBY over Newhaven Incinerator(hence the rather clever title!), powering on through the awful, awful conditions. My previous latest record was 25 Sep (2010, at Abbot's Wood), and it's always a great feeling to see one of the 'summer' migrants in October!

Also around, there were 40+ Redshank on Mill Creek at Newhaven Tide Mills, and a few Great Black-backed Gulls  (gibbugs for short), looking imperious as always around Newhaven Marina.

Patch Dedication...

is what I call it when you still find an hour to grill your patch despite the dismal rain! And it seemed these difficult flying conditions did ground a few migrants. 30 Robin, 25 Blackbird and 15 Chiffchaff made up the bulk, and 5 Goldcrest, 2 Blackcap and 2 Siskin added a little bit more quality. The true number of migrant Blackbird, Robin and Goldcrest is of course clouded over by resident birds, but considering the inflation in numbers (especially for the former two), I feel safe in saying that a fair number of the birds were continental migrants. To put it in context, the number of Robins was  over twice the number of resident Blue Tits I counted today (14), and both species were almost literally calling/singing out of every bush! The Siskin were a highlight today, being seen a few times among a roving flock of birds that included Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps, Chifchaffs, Chaffinches and Goldfinches! It's also the second time I've seen grounded migrant Siskin here, having found three among a Goldfinch flock on September 17th.  

thought it's not taken today, it's a picture. and it's kinda relevant...  

Other birds today included 5 Meadow Pipits and 3 Swallows SW. A far cry from the thousands of birds moving over at the weekend, but in conditions like this I didn't expect much of a vismig! Altogether more surprising, though, were 2 SHOVELER, also heading SW low overhead. These were an altogether not too bad 54th bird species I've seen on the patch since 10 September! In fact, when you consider it's an inland site with no wetlands, bar an embanked river and a few ditches, I'm rather happy with that total! other patch regulars today included 8 Magpie, a Green Woodpecker and 3 Treecreeper. And after an hour on the patch, with clothes and feel sodden, I went to school and sat watching the rain, in some odd way wishing I could be back out in it admiring my birds.

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