Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Falmouth Birding update - autumn migration well underway

It has been a while since I had an avian-based update on my blog, so I thought it was about time to catch up with some of the sightings I have had around the area...
It has been great to start seeing some classic winter species arriving, hinting that autumn is approaching its mid-stages of migration: it was great to hear the first 'seep'-calls of Redwings yesterday morning, as the clear night gave way to a stunning morning. These were followed by a fantastic passage of Redwings over campus between 0800 and 0930 today, where flocks of up to 50 passed south-west, comprising over 160 during this time period! Accompanying them were a couple of Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrushes, 30+ Meadow Pipits, 4 Siskins, 4 Chaffinches and a Cormorant (!).

Visible migration, or 'vis mig' as it is alternatively termed, has been great over the caravan over the weekend too: I noted over 100 Meadow Pipits, 50+ Linnets, Siskin, five Skylarks, a Sparrowhawk, two Snipe, two 'alba' Wagtails and five Chaffinches on Sunday, with similar number present the previous day. I am hoping that this trend will continue over the next few days of clear skies and low winds, with a slightly scarcer stray perhaps finding its way into the mix...

In other news, the ridiculous Yellow-browed Warbler influx which is currently underway int he UK has certainly reached firmly down into the south west: I now have this stunning sibe wanderer on my home 'patch' list, when a bird turned up in the Sycamores about our caravan a few days ago! Prioir to this, another bird was heard on campus a day or two earlier. Aside these smart phylloscs, Firecrest numbers have been excellent: I have noted birds either on the coast or on campus every day for the last week, with the as many as five on any one day. I had a great encounter with a pair on the 7th, which are pictured below.

Other sightings of note: Greenshanks, Common Sandpipers, Curlews and Little Egrets on the flats in Penrhyn harbour; Green Woodpeckers on campus most days, with good numbers of Coal and Long-tailed Tits; a significant increase in wildfowl numbers of College Lake, with 17 Wigeons and 26 Teals present on the 10th, hinting towards the arrivals that are hopefully due to continue in the coming weeks.

Here is a more bird-centred mish-mash of images from the last week...

Coot! Great to see these charactful birds, especially coming from an island where one turning up on a small pond was the first in 15 years! Getting up close has been great for photography 

 The autumn colours are really starting to come through now...a Great Tit hiding amongst a tangle of branches

 One of the many Firecrests that have appeared over the last week; there has been a singing male daily on campus for a number of days now

female Stonechat

 It was nice to connect with a handful of smart Wheatears last week at Godrevy, where some Skylarks also pitched down amongst the 170+ Meadow Pipits...

 Skylarks- one of the quintessential elements of autumn passage, with their musical calls overhead a sure sign of good 'vis mig'

 Cormorant on a misty morning at Nanjizal

 It has been good fun to photograph a number of wildfowl species which I have never really spent time observing before now, due to their infrequent regularity on Bardsey. Little Grebes have been a pleasure to watch and photograph, as have the tame Tufted Ducks on Swanpool...

 male Tufted Ducks

Jays have been busy all over the area collecting their winter stash of Acorns. 

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