Monday, 24 August 2020

Whinchats in the rain


A day's birding (on and off) all on foot from home. Was it worth it? Well yes, it had its moments...

First off was a couple of hours vis-migging from Nork Park. This was the first such session and will most probably be the last. Until you actually try these things for real, the problems are not always apparent. As a site it has a great view, but the best position is alongside a noisy A road. I have enough of a problem picking up the calls of distant Tree Pipits and Redwings as it is, so the backdrop of vehicle noise will not be helpful. The park is also home to hundreds of dog-walkers and their canine companions. I was met with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity and felt quite uncomfortable. If the park returned Spurn-like numbers of migrants I would roll with it, but this is obviously not the case. I returned home and sat in the garden, which was almost silent in comparison. My close-to-home skywatches will be a lot closer to home than I envisaged.

This afternoon I dodged the showers at Priest Hill. The first hour was dreadfully quiet, but then stumbled across a flock of c20 Common Whitethroats which were moving between clumps of bramble. With them, in loose association, were five Whinchats, all wary. There was one individual that exhibited a marvellous apricot upper breast band, but I failed to obtain a photograph despite some ninja-like stalking. Ageing and sexing Whinchats in the autumn is not a simple thing - even though the five birds before me were a mixture of bright and dull plumages, striking and dull supercillia, I could not safely age or sex them. The Kestrel above sat out one of the showers with me.

5 comments:

Stewart said...

Sounds like you need to have some adventure slightly further afield. I see there are places like Bewl, Sevenoaks or the south coast under an hours drive from you? Maybe once a month to somewhere like that or even your fave, Dunge, would slake your thirst and you could calmly negotiate local sites inbetween times. I cant imagine trying to viz mig near a busy A road...

Gibster said...

I've had some great vis-migging from the Highest Point on Epsom Common in years gone by. Spent a lot of time studying the directions of incoming Magpies to roost (I think 120+ in the birches there, another 40+ nearer the Great Pond), gull lines heading towards Walton Res, huge numbers of Jackdaws (never did find where they roosted, possibly Butcher's Wood in Horton CP?), great for pipit/finch/hirundine/swift/skylark passage in the autumn. Had an Osprey and three Hobbies go through on Sep 26th 2000, plus a Redwing flying southwards with House Martins - that was a great day!

Yossarian said...

What a lovely pic of that kestrel in the rain. Superb.

Graeme Lyons said...

Hi Steve, trying to get in touch about meeting up soon and can't find you on Facebook for some reason, can you drop me an email please? Do you have it?

Hope you are good!
G

Steve Gale said...

Stewart: you may be right
Seth: I'll check it out
Adam: thanks mate
Graeme: I've dm'd you