Sunday, 15 October 2017

Horrid autumn- 15/10/17

Dawn, and mist and fog over parts of the Hoo Peninsula. Clear to the south?

6:30-8:15 Redwing 5, Song Thrush 3,  Blackbird 6,  FirecrestGoldcrest, Chaffinch 16, Greenfinch 10, Linnet 22, Reed Bunting 12.

Vizmig: Grey Heron 2 (south) Skylark 14, Meadow Pipit 35, Pied Wagtail 7, Song Thrush 5, Redwing 902 (south-southwest), Starling 240 (south), Chaffinch 10, Goldfinch 124, Greenfinch 4, Linnet 49, Reed Bunting 4

Mound, viz mig: Peregrine, Skylark 2, Meadow Pipit 3 Pied Wagtail 3, Starling 106, Chaffinch 35, Goldfinch 75, Greenfinch 4, Linnet 20.

(Rant ahead!) "And another reason I hate the fact they've demolished Grain Power Station. That chimney had aircraft hazard lights down it. Looking out the front bedroom window I could see it. Nights I couldn't see them all, I knew there was mist and fog at the mouth- and if north Rainham was clear, then big chance of fallout. The lights for the docks just aren't high enough, it's a right pain and I.." (Rant over.)

So, guesswork. Today it felt worth getting to the park forty minutes or so before dawn and, deep joy! Fallout on and over Horrid. As I walked the neck, Redwings and Starlings were following it mainly south-southwestwards to land, followed shortly after by the first finches.

When do diurnals start moving? As a young 'un I had it drilled in the second hour after dawn was best for viz mig. Certainly for birds travelling from distance arriving on the coast, 'contis' crossing to Kent, but the movement can start as soon as the birds can travel. Most roost studies are in the evening because birds often leave in such low light we can't see them. The dawn rush may well have been birds that hadn't traveled far; or a few nocturnals (studies have shown small numbers of species we think only day movers can and will move at night) dropping down. A mystery, but one that made this one of the best mornings at the Point to date.

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