Showing posts from October, 2021

Up above

The Redwing passage that was covered in the previous post carried on to excite and inspire the following morning, here in Banstead (October 14th). Ordinarily, a westerly movement of 5,805 would elicit an awful lot more notice, but coming in the wake of the monstrous 26,013, was somewhat undersold. It was, however, my third highest Redwing total ever - anywhere. There is a perverse part of me that chuckles at the fact that, two days ago, my back garden spanked every other site in the UK for Redwing numbers, apart from that Surrey birding Death-star, Leith Hill tower. It goes some way to convince myself that I am not wasting my time here. There have been a few Chaffinches on the move, in their low hundreds, with a sprinkling of Brambling thrown in for good measure. I was able to watch a flock of 14 of the latter feeding on Whitebeam berries at the base of Colley Hill on October 12th (pictured). The nearby farmland held a flock of 400 Linnet and a local record count (for me anyway) of 40

The day of the Redwing

Sometimes you are in the right place, at the right time. And sometimes you are only in the right place at the right time because you have stood there for days on end, waiting for it to happen. Today it happened. It has become a bit of an 'October thing' over my garden, here in Banstead - a day (or two) of concentrated diurnal Redwing passage, so much so that I stand outside the house, at dawn from October 1st, waiting for it to commence. My previous back garden successes have included: 7,724 west at on 12 October 2020 5,334 west on 15 October 2020 4,145 west on 8 October 2018  3,203 west on 13 October 2020 The Surrey record, up until this morning, stood at 15,000 west at Beddington SF on 12 October 1997. I had no expectation of ever reaching that figure, and thought that my 7,724 from last autumn was a bit of a one-off. How wrong was I... It started to look good yesterday afternoon/evening, with the Flysafe/BirdTAM website offering up graphs and charts that predicted the follow

End of week report

October has now given me seven days worth of back garden sky watching, so it seems like a good time to report on what has been happening… not an awful lot really. Each day, from a numbers perspective, has been disappointing. Here is a bit of detail: 1st - I was dead keen, in the garden when it was still dark. A gusting wind and heavy rain found me cowering in the garage, watching through a side door that allows a view of the eastern sky. Spent most of that time observing which neighbour’s guttering was in need of repair. Nothing moving. 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back. 2nd - another 06.45hrs start, again accompanied by a f2-3, then 5-6 SW wind and constant rain. More sheltering under garage and shed than proper birding. A few crumbs moved south - 2 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipit, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Jay and 11 Goldfinch. Didn’t feel quite so cheated. 3rd - A three hour (7-10) shift that just proved that I wasn’t standing beneath a functioning fly line, although