Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Joys of Visible Migration pt two... Clive McKay

Clives most recent BirdGuides WebZine artical is now on line at:

A MUST to read!


Wycoller Ark... trans Pennine traffic! 22-10-2009

Wycoller Ark... through the haze and under a featureless stratus sky (c) 2009

Crow Hill on the south horizon (c) 2009

Wolf Stones on the north horizon across Hob Ing (c) 2009

Wycoller Ark, Trawden (Lancashire, England)
Thursday 22 October 2009
Counting period: 7:45-12:45
Weather: ESE F3, 9degC, 1000m improving 10km, 9/8 fog startus and featureles stratus, QNH 995 rising 998
Observers: Howard Creber

Moving Birds:

Golden Plover 12 -
Fieldfare 182 -
Greenfinch 3 -
Lapwing 3 -
Redwing 313 -
Goldfinch 41 -
Black-headed Gull 10 -
Jackdaw 15 -
Siskin 6 -
Woodpigeon - 6
Carrion Crow 2 -
Lesser Redpoll 5 -
Swallow 1 -
Starling - 1025
Snow Bunting 1 -
alba wagtail sp. 2 -
Chaffinch 16 -

Totals: 1643 individuals, 17 species, 5:00 hours

The site certainly has a mystique all of it`s own! With landmarks and landforms such as Hanging Stone, Hob Ing, Man Stone (a ghoulish looking erect stone presiding over the col -looks like the fabled Mothman), Wolf Stones and the ancient Coombe Cross.... the upturned ark!! and what else can one expect?... not to mention the backdrop of Pendle Hill, with its well known ladies - Demdike, Chattox and Bulcocks !!!. No wonder this area inspired the imagination of the Bronte`s.

Near the Lancashire / Yorkshire boundary with purpose to monitor the avain traffic twixt the two Counties.

Visibility wasn`t good, any clear spells often being punctuated by hill shrouding fog stratus from the south. However, these conditions... better than at Oxenhope across the basin and the general ambience of the site did not put off the birds I am pleased to say. Most notable was a strong movement of Starlings NW - all 17 squadrons followed precisely the same route and elevation (circa 200 feet above ground level - site is over 350 metres asl). It was pretty clear they were following the line of the valley from the south east, over the col out into Lancashire. Squadrons of Starlings powering through like this really are a spectacular sight...... There was also a good movement of winter thrushes in the opposite direction and also various finch species evacuating Lancashire for West Yorkshire and beyond no doubt. Dave joined me for the latter part of the stay and we were pleasantly suprised to see a late Swallow moving South.... almost overhead! which we took as a confimatory sign of the migration route we were on. All in all a very good session apart from me stoving in David`s car boot with my Landy at the end - whoops !!!!!

Howard Creber

Oxenhope... missing the move! 22-10-2009

The Golden Moors of Winter!.... in one of the rare clearing spells (c) 2009

Oxenhope, Bradford (W Yorks, England)
Thursday 22 October 2009
Counting period: 7:50-11:00
Weather: ESE F3, 9degC, 100m improving 5000m, 9/8 fog startus and featureles stratus, QNH 995 rising 998
Observers: Dave Barker

Moving Birds:
Golden Plover 27 -
Redwing 125 -
Black-headed Gull 3 -
Rook 1 -
Woodpigeon 3 -
Starling - 340
Meadow Pipit 3 -
Chaffinch 23 -
alba wagtail sp. 2 -

Totals: 527 individuals, 9 species, 3:10 hours

Present: Carrion Crow 45

Comments: Visibility locked out for the first c90 mins but nevertheless there was a moderate Redwing movement in progress with calls and multiple calls all heard from within the fog stratus which was down to c1100ft asl. From the calls and sequential calls heard I estimated that at least eight unseen moderate sized flocks passed close by, seemingly going west? As the base began to fragment, Starlings.... good sized squadrons of over 100 started to pass NW all quite well up on the tail wind. Three passed before the cloud came down again and essentially that was it for the rest of the morning. An influx of Carrion Crows was interesting and a Rook south was very unusual! Radio conversations with Howard across the basin on Wycoller Ark confirmed that both bird movement through that site and the local visibility was much better than here... I was missing out!.... a very interesting comparison! and one that we shall be doing again! At 1100hr I abandoned the watch to spend the last part of the morning counting with Howard on Wycoller Ark.


Caldene Fields, Low Moor... deep depression! 22-10-2009

Caldene Fields, Bradford (W Yorks, England)
Thursday 22 October 2009
Counting period: 7:30-9:15
Weather: A dry start with a F1/2 E/S/E wind and a temperature of 9c, 100% low cloud and fog throughout the watch giving visibility of only 1 to 2 miles.
Observers: Martyn Priestley

Moving birds:

Mallard 5 -
Carrion Crow 6 + 2
Golden Plover - 1
Starling 84 -
Black-headed Gull 31 -
Chaffinch 5 -
Stock Dove 2 + 1
finch sp. - 4
Woodpigeon 6 + 3
Greenfinch 6 -
alba wagtail sp. 8 + 6
Goldfinch 3 -
Redwing 10 + 41

Totals: 224 individuals, 13 species, 1:45 hours

Comments: A poor watch here today with very few birds moving. Finches were almost non-existent and very few overheard calls of other species were heard. The only slight highlight was a low flying Golden Plover which flew N.

Martyn Priestley