Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Co-ordinated Vis Events Autumn 2009

Dear All.

As there is a demand and as discussed last in early July, The UK / Pennine VisMig Group are arranging a series of co-ordinated vis (visible migration) count events. Similar to last years single event in mid October. Currently looking at three optimum (Webs being considered and avoided) provisional Sunday dates. These are as follows:

September Meadow Pipits, Swallows and possibly Pink Feet (Sunday 27th September)

October Redwings (Sunday 18th October)

November Starlings, Fieldfares and Woodpigeons (Sunday 1st November)

These dates appear to be the best Sunday options available that almost hit the peaks taking into account the avoidance of the Webs surveys which many of our members have commitments to.

Whilst the target species will be as stated above and described in more detail below, the counting will not be limited to them.... Anything seen or heard passing through should be counted and direction of flight recorded, generally in accordance with the methodology, similar but not identical to last years, which will follow.

If you are not already aware and interested in taking part please let me know... The following details are required.... many local sites in Bradford and surrounding areas are being covered so you wont be by yourself!:

The details required are:

Site name,

Altitude asl,

UK six figure grid reference

Observer name,

Email address

This information is required so that your migration counting site can be set up on Trektellen. This will allow you to enter your results direct to their database for comparison and analysis of the day results at a few clicks of the mouse!

Thus we need these details "up front" to enable the system.... ready for your data.

Basic Methodology (yet to be refined) will be very similar to last years except possibly the counting increment which we will have to consider in view of what trektellen can handle. The fixed counting period will also not be necessary but the longer you can count for the better the quality of the data see (for last years methodology for an indication of what we will be doing):



Finally had time to check out the dates mooted for the target species and find as I thought they are all virtually spot on for peak passage periods taking account of the lumping of species necessary to achieve only three watch dates and to miss the webs Sunday dates as well. I believe we can now confirm these.

Here are the brilliant UK Trektellen Graphics for the target species so everyone can see how they fit with the dates. If you want to generate your own "up to date" graphics for the UK, various parts of Europe or any of the migration counting sites contributing to Trektellen, just visit the link given below and you will be able to do it with ease!!

Firstly Swallow and Meadow Pipit: Sunday 27th September is the best option after consideration (avoidance) given to web survey the week previous (20th). Obviously dependant on conditions prior to and on the day but we have got to go for it! Both species will be evacuating and thus moving south. Meadow Pipits may have passed their peak on the E Coast but should be peaking in the Pennines. This period is also near the peak for first big push Pink Footed Geese moving mainly south and south east with ultimate goal in north Norfolk but also stageing in NW England.... in the Pennines we normally get pinkies heading directly to one or other of these areas.... they definately know where they are going!! We will add this species to the target list for this date but they will depend very much on the critical weather conditions on the day as the big move at this time of year is often a one day wonder! .:

Double Click on any of these graphics if you cant see them to make them bigger!!

UK Meadow Pipit passage peak (c) Trektellen

UK Swallow passage peak (c) Trektellen

Secondly Redwings on Sunday 18th October is right on the main peak arrival period.... but the magnitude of passage on the day will obviously depend on suitable departure conditions from Norway / passage conditions over the North Sea... lets hope for a TOP day!! A big arrival overnight or the previous day will lead to a flood overland, dependant on the weather system or conditions at the coast but often W or NW. Fall conditions are not what is wanted for a good day of vis!!! There should also be good numbers of Chaffinch on the move if conditions are calmer as they will just have peaked during the week previous.

UK Redwing passage peak (c) Trektellen

Finally Starlings, Fieldfare and Woodpigeons. 1st November is again right on the peak for Starlings. Unless you are on the coast, the extent of passage apparent on the day will depend on magnitude of arrivals over the last day or so together with weather conditions. Peak numbers arrive in SE England from the Wash southwards as they tend to gravitate in the continent to the southern North Sea to cross to the UK but many then cross the UK to the NW... to arrive at the massive winter roosts up there... so we still get lots here in central northern England. They always fly low in both small and large squadrons often carpeting the moor as they go... and to me they are amongst the most exciting vis on offer!!

UK Redwing passage peak (c) Trektellen

Fieldfare passage is again near the peak. The magnitude of passage on the day will be dependant on the same conditions as Redwing, possibly not just from Norway but from the Continent further south as well... arrivals overnight will lead to a flood inland again often W or NW as Redwing but possibly just a little later in the morning... again lets hope for a big day.

UK Fieldfare passage peak (c) Trektellen

Woodpigeons will be building up to a peak.... later in the UK than on the continent. They move south from further north in the UK (NOT arriving from the continent) seemingly more pronounced over the flatter lands than in the hills.... again very exciting stuff with massive tight balls of woodies steaming south or south west. Favourable conditions to induce movement are anticyclonic calmish, often colder frosty mornings.... the ones when it is wonderful to be out.

UK Woodpigeon passage peak (c) Trektellen

Hope this little appraisal together with the wonderful trektellen graphs is of interest and stimulates interest, especially to our newer members..... cant wait for the time to come!

Trektellen designed by vis counters, for use by vis counters.... is the site where we will enter our records for analysis.

Again if you wish to take part, please let us know. This being to enable Trektellen accounts (totally free!) to be set up for all of the new sites that will be active on the day..... Once set up you will of course be able to enter your vis migration records at any time, for you enjoyment and all to add to the accuracy of the info we all can get out of their ever expanding Europe wide data base.

If you have not seen Trektellen then as first option please visit:



and try out the options on the menu.

Very many thanks,