Thursday, September 27, 2018

Autumn.

September and October are the peak months for bird migration in the UK.

Here in Northumberland, August through to November is THE best time of year for birding. We are ideally positioned to recieve migrating birds from the North and East along our hundred miles of quite underwatched coastline. This is all well and good until you consider the one factor that acts as referee, judge and executioner in deciding whether the autumn has been a classic or a damp squib. The Weather.

Most years fall somewhere between these extremes with years like 2016 being top of the shop and, er, so far, 2018 being bottom!

So far this autumn, from, say, 10th August my local birding highlights have been -

Long tailed Skua 1ad tracked N along the coast, actually seen passing my patch.
Sooty Shearwater 1.
Spotted Flycatcher 2 ( yes, really, it is that bad)
Whinchat 2
Merlin 1
Med Gulls 2 ad winter together, my first multiple occurrence on patch. 

What a fine array, thanks to the relentless series of Westerly or Southerly winds. If I had driven to some of the hotspots, there has been Barred,Greenish and Arctic Warblers during a narrow window of easterly weather, but as a rule this year needs to come up with a radical move in the jetstream to stop 2018 becoming the antithesis of 2016!

As for falls of common migrants or good seawatches, these have been non existent. I remember when every autumn would see me taking holidays from work to fit in with seawatching or fall conditions. The way things are going, I'll still have leave to use up through to spring...

This weekend, calls for a change. I think we might head north in search of shrike, starling and seaduck...if they haven't done a bunk by then.

No birds, but a Blusher from Suffolk.



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