Winter at Holme Bird Observatory (please click for clip)

Saturday, 8 August 2009

First signs of Autumn

The 7th August was a good day of general movement, signalling the first tentative steps of autumn. This was headlined by 10 Spoonbills, with 7 east at 07:42hrs and 3 east at 17:30hrs, with the latter group shown below. Seawatching was reasonably productive at times, with 79 Teal west, 12 Eider, 96 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 13 Fulmars, 3 Manx Shearwaters east, 66 Gannets and 1 Great Skua west.

Pictures © Jed Andrews

One of the notable events of the day was excellent numbers of terns throughout, first of all on the seawatch in the morning, then on the beach in Thornham harbour at low tide and again in the early evening, when large numbers were wheeling about catching ants with large numbers of gulls over the pines and observatory, resulting in counts (at any one time) of 364 Common Terns, 54 Sandwich Terns, 16 Arctic Terns (4 on the beach at Gore point at high tide, 5 past on the seawatch, 2 in Thornham harbour at low tide and 5 along the broadwater/over the pines in the evening) and best of all 2 moulting adult Black Terns loafing around in Thornham harbour at low tide amongst the masses of Common Terns, along with a smart and somewhat unseasonal adult Little Gull. An adult Mediterranean Gull was also hawking over the pines in the evening.

Picture © Jed Andrews

Passerines also featured, with the first autumn migrants being grounded by the overnight rain, headlined by a Spotted Flycatcher in the Forestry and 3 Garden Warblers, of which one was trapped and ringed, but also including 15 Willow Warblers and 4 Lesser Whitethroats.

Picture © Connor D. Rand

4 Cetti's Warbler were noteworthy on the NOA reserve. Waders were again a key feature, with 14 Golden Plovers, 20 Snipe, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 28 Whimbrel, 1 Spotted Redshank west, 2 Greenshank and 8 Green Sandpipers noted, while a trickle of hirundines flying west along the dunes consisted of 75 Swallows and 10 Sand Martins.

Words by Connor D. Rand.

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