Monday, October 12, 2009

a sudden thrush of blood !

Over the past ten years early to mid October has yielded good numbers of incoming migrants at Buckton and on this occasion a weather pattern was developing that would bring rain and east winds on Friday night (Oct 9th) which would most likely drop birds on Saturday.
Saturday saw the predictions come true with 94 birds ringed from 4 nets including multiple Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbirds. Also caught were 2 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Brambling and interestingly 30 Reed Bunting and 10 Dunnocks. Many of the Blackbirds had long wing measurements and were clearly of continental origin, as was a very grey Robin.
The morning dawned with complete murk and frequent periods of rolling mist on a light wind that had swung from a south east with heavy rain overnight to a nor'wester - just perfect !
The highlight of the day happened at around 8am when extracting a bird from the 60ft net in the cliff top dell I suddenly became aware of urgent thrush flight calls then suddenly the very loud rush of wings, as a party of over 100 Redwings, 2 Ring Ouzels and several Song Thrushes avalanched high out of the sky into the patch of cover that I was stood in, birds were everywhere, bouncing in to the net, landing deep in to hawthorns and making an incredible noise and all at lightning speed!
These birds had set off the previous evening from Scandinavia or the Low Countries and Buckton was their next land fall - magic !I hope at least some of them enjoyed the huge sack of apples that I had put out for them. Later in the day the weather improved and hardly a single thrush of the 400 that had arrived during the morning was still present, these birds now safely inland to winter in the UK and beyond.
Good numbers of scarce birds were found along the coast notably Firecrests and Yellow-browed Warblers, despite a good kick around we failed to turn up anything unusual but did have 4 Ring Ouzels and two Short-eared Owls.

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