False Start

If you remember I had commented on the potential interesting weather synopsis for yesterday morning, but as often happens it didn't come to fruition. The weak weather front moved through, with light drizzle, but after it had come light the effect was more of a 'blocking' feature than of a 'dropping' feature, if you know what I mean.

Having said that, after my 8 o'clock Doctor's appointment I decided to have an hour or so's birding before hitting the office for the day. I arrived at the cemetery under full cloud cover, with a moderate southeasterly wind. Where had that wind come from?

As I got out of my car I could hear some Chaffinches 'pinging', looked up and could see just a couple of birds. I looked harder and there high above, just dots in my bins, were a tight flock of 42 heading west. When we get flocks like this down on the coast at the Obs, it's a sure sign that they are continental birds. I sent a quick text to Ian saying "it looks like continental Chaffinches are on the move this morning". After that I had very little vis, so it had in fact been a false start.

The only grounded migrant I had in the cemetery was a single Goldcrest, so I headed to the coastal park, but I didn't hold out much hope. There were a few more grounded migrants in the coastal park in the form of four Goldcrests, 14 Chaffinches and two Redwings. Vis was restricted to just 13 Chaffinches and ten Starlings. It was time to go home!

There are three Woodpigeons that seem to be permanently hanging around our garden at the moment, although I must admit I am putting food out for them. One of the birds has been moulting its wing feathers and when it takes off it 'clatters' it's wings even more than usual!

Looking back to this day in 2010 Ian and me were ringing at the farm fields/school in the Obs recording area. We ringed 52 birds; a Song thrush, a Redwing, three Goldcrests, a Long-tailed Tit, six Reed Buntings, three Blue Tits, a Dunnock, five Blackbirds and 31 Greenfinches. So, not a bad haul!

The birding wasn't bad either and it stood out for one reason, and that was a Great Grey Shrike that headed north at 0800! I remember it well as both Ian and I picked it up at the same time, knowing there was something odd about this bird with undulating flight that was approaching! That was the last Great Grey Shrike recorded at the Obs, so we are over due another one!