Saturday, October 31, 2015

It takes a bit of luck....

The lane in autumn.

Earlier this week the wind took a turn from the south east. It was mild, and damp with odd thick foggy spells and some drizzle. If only I had booked a holiday from work it was very promising for finding some good birds on the patch. As it was I had to make do with half an hour out with Bunty at first light each day.

On Tuesday it was clear that this weather was grounding a few migrants. As we left the house at 7.05am, 100+ Redwings and a few Fieldfares were flying around the village. A good start. As I rounded the first corner, 2 Little Egrets emerged from the fog at a little over roof top height and flew North, only the third record here in 7 years.

Now, at the coast road most of the time I turn left, north to the coast path, but today I fancied that my short amount of time might be better spent checking the scrub at Rumbling Kern just to the south, so I took a right turn.

This is where the gods of fate kick in. Bunty lead the way along the road for about 100 yards when she flushed a small bird at her feet right on the road verge. In a split second I thought 'pipit?' but soon focussed onto a small wader - a Jack Snipe no less! It flew just along the road and dropped back in to the opposite fence line. As we approached it got up again, giving a better view this time as it circled over then flew off west. Unusually it made a very brief call as it took off, a faint 'cough' sound a bit like part of a Common Snipe call. I cant say I've ever heard a Jack call before?

This is a bird I have looked for in damp areas on the patch but have never found, so this  a real patch list bonus!

Also here a Grey Wagtail fed along the manure heap.

Jack Snipe notes...

On Wednesday birds continued to arrive with many Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Redwings with a few Goldcrests and Brambling to look through. On my return from work, in the dark, a Woodcock was sat on the road in the village then flew off into the night. Many Redwings were calling, easily 5 calls per minute at various distances. Its great to see and hear migration in action.

This is what gets my blood flowing, but I've still heard birders saying that it was 'quiet' simply because there were no rarities locally.  I was happy with my 'jack' and the sight of so many birds arriving from across the North Sea. Most birders are just too used to getting rare birds regularly. They need a spell wandering around my patch!

By Thursday, bird numbers began to dwindle as the weather changed. It remains mild and the moth trap has been out, catching my first December Moth of 2015 this morning. This moth usually marks the end of the mothing season for me, but I'll keep trying as long as it stays mild...

December Moth
144. Little Egret
145. Jack Snipe


1 comment:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Fabulous moth! I always think the white feathers on the back of snipe, and quail too, are more like spines than feathers