Friday 20 November 2015

It's getting late

Even though we have now passed the mid-November mark, there is still a feel of autumn in the air and many birds are still on the move.

Woodpigeons were the biggest surprise of the week, with large numbers recorded in the west and along the south coast. A total of 25,00 were logged at Portland, Dorset on the 16th and almost 50,000 in Gwent on the 20th. The latter figure pales in comparison to the 210,000 counted at the latter site on the 5th of November 2014.

Woodpigeon thinking about migrating (Nick Stacey)

Finches were also still on the move, mostly represented by Goldfinches. It feels a little late for hundreds still to be moving over coastal watchpoints, but that has been the case at several sites this week. 399 Goldfinches and 278 Siskin passed Spurn, East Yorkshire last Tuesday for example.

The latter site also had 154 Whooper Swans flying south two days latter and the species is being reported in above average numbers so far on BirdTrack this week.

Reporting rate of Whooper Swan on BirdTrack

Woodcock have finally made their presence felt too; 69 were counted in a small area on Fair Isle, Shetland on the 17th of November, which was the highest count of the autumn. The wardens estimated there could well have been a triple-figure count with better coverage.

It has gone a bit quiet again on the Waxwing front following the arrival of birds earlier this month. The only reports were of two two in Argyll on Saturday and another three on Shetland on Wednesday. Any excuse to post more Waxwing photos though!

Waxwing by Steven Mcgrath

Looking at the weather for the next few days, Saturday appears to be the most interesting day. Strong northerly winds are forecasted for the western North Sea bringing an arctic chill to the east coast of Britain. Similar conditions in the past have resulted in good counts of Little Auk and small flocks have been reported in the last few days. Ducks, swans and geese are likely to be on the move as well, as will the last remaining Swallows (two at Spurn on 20th) and House Martins.

Paul Stancliffe and Stephen McAvoy

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