Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Pigeon Passage

This morning it finally felt like autumn!  I stepped out the back door just after 6am and was greeted by a distinct chill and a beautifully crystal clear starry sky. A little later, just after the sun rose over Beer Head, it looked and felt equally as autumnal....

I knew the bushes were going to be quiet, but I was hoping for some good vis mig. Well, Pigeons certainly didn't disappoint.  Whilst here, and birding at other sites later in the morning, I had just over 8,000 Wood Pigeons fly west.  Some of the flocks were obviously spooked by something, and came tumbling down from high and continued flying west only just above head height.  Love hearing the 'woosh' followed by the sound of their powerful wing beats...

There were quite a few Stock Doves mixed in, and the odd flock of Jackdaw too.  It's a real shame cloud and rain came in just after 9:30, as it could have been a really big day for them. 

Forgetting the Pigeons, the vis mig was disappointing, with not that many smaller birds moving - although this could have been because they were passing ultra high due to the clear skies and light winds.  I suppose the highlight was a high flying very vocal Bullfinch going west - don't tend to see that many of these on vis mig. Otherwise it was just relatively small numbers of Skylarks, Linnets, Chaffinches, Reed Buntings, alba Wagtails and Meadow Pipits.

I did have a good 'vis mig' bird on Sunday, during a dog walk with Jess.  Whilst walking along Harbour Road in Seaton (the road just inland and running parallel with the sea front), the gulls went up and for a change I could immediately see why - a Kite!  Sadly it was just a Red Kite, but still great to see as winter records remain pretty scarce in Devon.  It flew almost directly above us as it followed the road east, then when it got to the Estuary began to spiral up before I lost it as it circled over Axe Cliff.  My rapid right hand meant the texts got out whilst I was still watching it, and amazingly Bun managed to see it from Seaton Hole!

I'll finish this post with a couple of off-patch photos.  We took the dog to Stover CP last Saturday, and I was pleased to see a pair of Mandarins in one of the arms of the main lake...

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