Saturday, 12 November 2011

Further Notes on this years Migrations - 2011 - Starlings

Further Notes on this years Migrations – 2011.

(Where’s the Thrushes? – cos the Starlings have made it

Further points of interest, is that the Starlings were about ten days late in their main arrival peak date this year compared to previous years eg: instead of starting usually on or around the 15th October (peak), it turned out this year that the main peak arrival date was 24th October.

From my records I can confirm that the 24th October was the “peak” arrival of Starlings in any quantity, and also that the previous day (23rd) had also shown slight increases of Starling passage. I should also mention that I had been recording small Starling parties coming in from the East to the West from about the 24th September onset and still ongoing to press.

So from this it could be presumed that the birds (Starlings) had made their crossing of the North Sea on the previous days of the 22nd and 23rd October, when obviously conditions had become suitable for this species in particular, but certainly this did not apply to Thrush species or should I say that Thrush species never took any advantage of this weather as the records show minimal vismig of Thrushes, perhaps just a slight increase in Fieldfares.

Another interesting point I would like to make is that on the following day (25th October) it suddenly became very noticeable that there had been a massive increase of birds (Starlings) (approx 6000 in a single ball) coming out of the Leighton Moss roost. Up until this date the birds leaving the roost and which do travel in this direction on a daily basis was almost negligible and certainly the quantitites would be quite limited and hardly noticeable.

So that day (25th) was in fact the first day that a momentus murmuration happened for me, and was so delightfully experienced. All birds head directly East from their roost over Hutton Roof, almost in line with the Clawthorpe Road corridor. It’s a corridor shown by its topography as a sort of dip in the middle separating Farleton side and the Hutton Roof side, in fact it’s the same corridor the finches all take as well. It can be seen from miles away and I suppose it offers the birds a type of “valley” shelter protection, when it is necessary for them to pass against the winds and close to the ground.

Like I have said the day after the peak was the ultimate, when that single ball gushes over and close to your head and seems to go on for maybe a minute or two, yet as the days go on the birds become even thicker in population, they then spread out in width to a situation where they are seen from as far as the eye can see one way, to as far as the eye can see the other way. But obviously the depth is not a ball, but say a 20ft deep lineage view.

So now I wonder!, its become obvious that the Starlings have arrived in full, maybe a little late, but they are here in their full compliment, well at least as far as the Leighton Moss roosting birds are concerned, the estimate records already submitted by various confirms this.

Perhaps I should also add, is that although Starlings are coming through Hutton Roof, East to West on autumn migration, it is certainly in very small parties and I would consider it a very poor migration corridor in relation to this species, and on the evidence so far I would be thinking that perhaps the best East to West migration corridor lies somewhere further to the South of Hutton Roof, within the North Lancashire areas, possibly crossing over the M6 Motorway (southbound) somewhere between the Forton Services and the M55 Blackpool junction, and onward to their chosen roosting areas of Leighton Moss and Marton Mere.

The vismig counts for this morning are:
Sat Nov 12th 2011 - Hutton Roof

0745hrs to 0900hrs - Wind: S5-8mph.

Fieldfare: 7 (of which came in together and then split with 4 going NW and 3 going E.
Redwing: 10 E
Blackbird: 3W (and lots on Hutton Roof and Clawthorpe Lane)
Chaffinch: 58 (some E some W)
Siskin: 2,
Greenfinch: 3 (1E 2W)
Goldfinch 2W,
Yellowhammer: 1E
Meadow Pipit: 2S
Woodpigeon: 14E