Saturday, 18 September 2010

Viz Mipping

Had another go at viz migging this morning. What a difference a day makes, much quieter this time and actually a few birds, well 9 Meadow Pipits to be precise and possibly a couple of migrant Chaffinches. It's always difficult to decide what's local and what's a migrant with Chaffinches. Meadow Pipits, well they are easy, they don't live here so they are migrants and the first over the house this autumn so doubly welcome. Grey Wagtails and Great Spotted Woodpecker are pretty local, the former much commoner in winter than summer but both were quite obvious this morning too.

(When will Tree Pipit do the decent thing and give itself up over the house? Just how many Mippits = 1 Trippit? Talking of Lapland Buntings, which we weren't, I glimpsed a group of about 15 chunky Finch/Bunting things flying away from the house yesterday, oh if only I was outside and heard one of them call!)

Meadow Pipits were passing over on a broad front all day it would seem, judging from the number reported from different London sites and the fact that I heard them everywhere I went locally this morning. Every street seemed to have Chiffchaffs in the roadside Trees too, I wonder what else passes through suburbia unnoticed?

Later this afternoon I had a stroll over Walthamstow Marshes and saw the first Lesser Whitethroat for a while, in with an itinerant Tit flock. Sadly nothing much else gave itself up. I did see a pale Warbler disappear into some dense vegetation but it did not reappear. I flushed up 6 Reed Buntings from some other dense vegetation but unfortunately left with about 2000 seeds attached to my fleece for the trouble!

Another 15 Meadow Pipits flew over in one flock and some singles and the male Peregrine was seen flying over the Marsh and then sitting on it's favourite pylon. I was struck by how similar the call was to Ring-necked Parakeet, one or two of which were calling from nearby. Lol totally disagrees but what does he know he's only a musician:-)

On this date:

18 09 89
Lockwood Reservoir; A 1st winter Grey Phalarope was bobbing around in the waves at the North end, also still a female Common Scoter. An immature/female Ruddy Duck on the East Warwick. A large Sparrowhawk seen later over St’ James’s St. (that's when they were noteworthy!)

18 09 99
An Osprey flew South-south-west over the house this afternoon.


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Spotted...flycatcher! & bye-bye to the Terns

Had an afternoon stroll around the reses with Paul today (10th) & practically the first thing we clapped eyes on was a Spotted Flycatcher in the trees opposite the Ferry Boat pub near the entrance to the North reservoirs. This was our first flycatcher of the year, and I'm a little baffled as to why it's taken this long to connect with one considering they've been popping up all over London in good numbers of late (might have something to do with not putting in the necessary hours on the patch methinks).

Apart from that, not many other migrants to speak of except for ubiquitous Chiffchaffs (mostly juveniles with their distinctive squeaky calls), a few Meadow Pipits overhead, a dozen Teal (first 'large' group of the autumn), a single Wheatear & half a dozen Common Sandpipers - by far our commonest wader - on the Lockwood.

The highlights on the Southern sector were a couple of Kingfishers, and a magnificent Peregrine (we think, on size, a male), surveying the scene from it's favourite pylon.

Notable by their absence were the Common Terns which appear to've all departed in the last couple of days & will be missed until their return next spring.

Congrats also due to Dan Barrett for his lucky recent sighting of a male Merlin dashing through the Coppermill filter beds.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

In-Viz Mig!

'Tis the season to start viz migging. Viz, as in visible and Mig, as in migration. I am sure someone will correct me but I think the whole thing started during WWII. Pre-Radar people started watching the skies to report incoming Nazi planes and no doubt found (at the appropriate season) that they were seeing quite a bit of avian migration, the growing Bird Observatory movement in the 50's continued on the practice and it carried on from there with occasional lulls and revivals, it seems to have gained a bit of momentum in London in recent autumns.

Generally the first you know of an approaching Viz. Mig. is when you hear it, so Aud.(ible) Mig. would probably be more appropriate. I have a factory and a school/building site behind the house which are surprisingly noisy but I thought that a Saturday morning might not be too bad, think again! There was definitely no Migging, nothing was Viz and certainly there was no Aud.

Surely Sunday will be quieter.

Lol and I checked, very thoroughly, Walthamstow Marsh this afternoon for all the drift migrants (is that Drif. Mig?) that are streaming into the country at the moment. A Redstart had been reported from the patch recently so surely there was at least another one of those or a Flycatcher to be found. Well to say the least Passerines were thin on the ground.

I mentioned that we would be unlucky not to get a large Raptor today and within 5 minutes all the Gulls went up from the Filter Beds, it certainly felt like something had spooked them and shortly afterwards Lol picked up a Buzzard sp. We did our very best to make it something better than the Common that it was, but it just didn't scream Honey. Later an adult Hobby made it a 4 Raptor day. Later still we called it a day.