|Yes it's been like this for many a day now! new tarns springing up everywhere|
It was great to hear from Robert in Kendal who informed me that he had a party of 10 Crossbills crossing SE over the Hutton Roof Common on 6th November 2017.
Still not had any reports of the Shrike this year, but you never know he can turn up late! Yet after saying that his favourite day of arrival (with at least 3 visits over the past 10 years has been the "4th November")
Besides reading lots of more up to date books, occasionally I love to go back on the old MIGRATION OF BIRDS by Charles Dixon published way back in 1897 and it is always interesting although perhaps much dated, to read what went on well over a century ago and here is just one small extract from that very book. (with follow on extracts to appear soon)
"The Perils of Migration" (Chapter VIII) from that great book
The migration of birds is beset with dangers and full of perils. It would scarcely be possible to over estimate the mortality among birds of passage directly due to migration. One very significant proof of this great mortality is presented in the fact that of the immense numbers of birds flying south or west in Autumn, only a very small percentage come north or east again in the spring!
Most people have remarked the great gatherings of Swallows, Martins, and Swifts, just previous to migration in Autumn, yet where do we see such similar multitudes in Spring? The majority of these birds are young ones, neither so strong of wing nor so robust of frame as their parents, and it is among these that the highest mortality is reached. The death rate of a large town standing at, say, fifty or sixty per 1000, creates something like a panic among its human inhabitants; but there can be no doubt whatever that the death-rate among birds on migration reaches ten times that amount per 1000, and during exceptional circumstances very much more! From the moment that a migrant bird sets out on its journey it is exposed to quite a new set of dangers, whilst many other ordinary perils of its existence are very much intensified. From one end of its road to the other successive dangers surround it, and enemies of every kind have to be eluded. Migration, then, instead of being a pleasant journey in the van of advancing spring, or in the wake of retreating summer, is the most fatal undertaking in the life of migrant birds, and comparitively few survive it.
The Perils of Migration may be divided into three important classes, viz., those arising from Fatigue due to the mechanical portion of season-flight; those arising from the Natural Enemies of each species; and thos arising from Blunders and Fatalities on the way. Probably the first class of perils is the most fatal one; a journey with little rest by the way of even a couple of thousand miles, is a great strain on the endurance, especially of small Passerine birds; whilst a sea flight of, say, 300 miles, with no opportunity for rest of any kind, and in many cases not even the chance of snatching a mouthful of food en route, must tax these tiny migrants to such an extent that only the strongest survive the journey. Of the countless thousands of birds that perish during migration, by far the greater number probably succumb at sea. Many instances are on record of great numbers of drowned migratory birds being washed ashore, especially after stormy weather. Some of these tired migrants save themselves by getting a chance rest on some passing ship, but the majority, especially when flying by night, quietly drop into the remoreseless sea and perish! ......
above is a short extract from the book and soon I will put forward a further two or three paragraphs of this incredible book!