Sunday, 13 September 2015

A 1,000 bird morning

The gulls have arrived. Ploughing in the stubble always attracts loafing flocks of gulls, today there were around 300 present, spread over three fields. The usual three species were present, Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls, about 100 of each. Small numbers of intermedius Lesser Black Backs were the only gulls of note, their darker backs standing out among the more common graellsii. I was hoping for a Yellow-legged Gull, though Common Gull would be a more realistic find, not yet recorded locally this year.  Below is a typical scene from the east of the village:

Passerines were well represented today. 15 Siskin headed east, continuing the influx into the county this autumn. A single Yellow Wagtail also flew east calling. Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were present in most hedgerows, with family parties of Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tits. Hedgerows to the south held a few Linnets and Yellowhammers, including this bird (which I assume is a 1st winter male, aged on the yellow fringing to the folded primaries, the pristine coverts with no moult contrast and the rather pointed tail feathers):

The horrendous picture below, over-manipulated to show some plumage details, is of a juvenile Bullfinch. I can't recall having seen this plumage before. The lack of a black cap gives them a strange open-faced appearance and reveals the true size of that massive bill:

Then two remarkable sights. Firstly, East Field held over 500 hirundines, about 50:50 Swallow:House Martin, all feeding within 2 meters of the ground, with often up to 100 birds at a time resting on the stalks of the harvested oilseed plants. Most birds were juveniles. It was a strange experience, scanning across an oilseed field, counting hundreds of resting Swallows and Martins: 


Secondly, a Whinchat popped up on a nearby hedgerow - the third of the autumn and bird of the morning:

So by the time I had returned to the village I had recorded over 1,000 birds for the morning. It is not often that I can say that (for random exceptions see here and here). 

85 species for the year; 107 since 2008.

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