Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Moving On.

In late October/early November huge numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing, and Blackbird made landfall on our east coast, in the case of the latter I observed a figure of up to 60 Blackbird on a walk in our area on 29 November. My observations of the Redwing in each winter appear to indicate fewer in number than those of its cousin the Fieldfare. These arrivals on the east coast quickly move on inland and spread themselves out across the country, and a walk in the countryside around our area today would make it clear with fewer sightings that they have moved on even further south in search of food in a suitable wintering area, most likely to be in France and northern Iberia.

The Waxwing also arrived in the UK in 2012 and eventually there was an estimate of c.5,000 birds, the figure now stands at more like 1,500 and in recent weeks some have been seen leaving the south coast. If we get a prolonged spell of harsh icy weather there will be difficulties for more bird species to find food which becomes hidden and locked under frozen water and Herons and Kingfishers which aren't already on the coast will move to get there where the saline waters remain largely ice-free. A couple more examples of bird movement in these icy conditions are those of the Skylark and Wood Pigeon which will also leave the country if forced to and in spectacular numbers too. 

Smew. Copy Permitted.
Converse to all this movement, if these kind of conditions are prolonged on the continent wader and waterfowl numbers may see an increase and species like the Smew and Goldeneye may well move to our estuaries as a lifeline. In the case of the Smew a bird long overdue, and the Goldeneye, January is the peak period for this one.

And talking of the Waxwings....

Waxwing Martin Jump

Yet another waxwing image, and yet another brilliant one with a difference. I don't know this as a fact, but I reckon this bird is launching into a dive to retrieve this berry it had but lost. Excellent stuff as always Martin.

And some more exotica....

Ring-necked Parakeet Brian Rafferty 

The Ring-necked Parakeet which BR saw at Lytham recently. I've yet to see my first one of this species, the UK's only naturalised Parrot, in flight it has pointed wings, a long tail, and a very steady direct flight. Nice one Brian, and thank you. 


Richard Pegler said...

Interesting post Pete.

If you want to see Ring-necked Parakeets, take a trip along the Thames between Staines and Richmond. We did this in 2009 and reckon we saw around 400 of them in numerous places. The Mandarins down there are also numerous and some would even come for bread!

Pete Woodruff said...

Richard....the lone commentator on this post....thank goodness for that, and thank you too.