Monday, 26 September 2011

Visible Migration

Ask any birder about there most memorable birding experience, and theres a fair chance it will involve migration of one kind or another. Seeing large flocks of Brent geese wintering on the Norfok coast may be a familiar site we almost take for granted, but to see these birds on migration, moving past the south coast on calm spring days, adds a whole new element of exitement. As it would turn out, my most memorable days at Dungeness have not been those involving rarities or twitches, as you might expect, but the days of seabird passage, when flocks of Terns and Little Gulls, mixed groups of wildfowl, and high flying lines of Whimbrels and Bar-tailed Godwits have all been passing offshore in large numbers.

As well as the falls of grounded migrants further along the coast, one of my personal highlights of the autumn is the visible migration of passerines, moving south through Snettisham Coastal Park. As the place is deserted by birders during the autumn, it is very rare that I see anyone else there during a morning watch, other than the occasional dog walker. With Saturday taken up by social duties, a sunday morning watch, from 07:00 till 08:30 managed to produce the following (all flying south)

Golden Plover 10
Lapwing 32
Snipe 5
Collared Dove 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Sand Martin 2
Swallow 24
Meadow pipit 80
Pied Wagtail 10
Dunnock 4
Starling 13
Tree Sparrow 6
Chaffinch 43
Linnet 35
Redpoll 4
Goldfinch 8
Greenfinch 65
Yellowhammer 5
Reed Bunting 8

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