Monday, 13 September 2010

One becomes four.

A search for yesterday's Wryneck at Langdon proved unsuccessful but I had better luck back at Bockhill with the Lapland Bunting.

I'd walked down the footpath well beyond where the bird had been feeding yesterday when I heard the tell tale "chew chew" call. Looking back towards the monument I saw the Lapland Bunting land a hundred yards or so back along the track.

Once again it was very confiding and allowed close approach as it fed along the side of the track. There have been larger than usual numbers of Lapland Buntings arriving in the British Isles, with 180 on Fair Isle last week. The reasons aren't clear but may be associated with a good breeding season and a weather pattern that brought high numbers from Greenland to Iceland and then to the UK.

As it was mid morning there was quite a lot of traffic on the path and the bird flew into the stubble field. I noted the exact position and slowly walked out to it. As I stood there I could see it until it suddenly popped up just a few feet away. I think that it would have stayed there had it not been that there three others just as close. A few calls latter they all flew off and landed further up the field. Knowing that they were almost impossible to see and photograph in the stubble it left them there, hoping that one or more might be feeding on the path when I returned.

Although there were now four Lapland Buntings the numbers of some of the other birds seemed to have dropped over night. I didn't see any Whinchats and only found one Wheatear on the ploughed field.

There were still good numbers of Chiffchaffs at Hope Point but overall fewer than yesterday.

A few Common Whitethroats scolded me as I walked through the scrub and one or two lesser Whitethroats "tacked" away. The main ornithological happening of the day was the passage of Swallows and Martins. They were coming through on a broad front and accurate counting was impossible. The best I could do was to count the number I could see passing through for a minute and extrapolate from their. Counting three separate minutes gave me an estimate of between 40 and 50 birds a minute. Although the composition varied overall I reckoned that it was about 55% House Martins, 45% Swallows with just a handful of Sand Martins. The passage appeared pretty continuous, which would mean in the four hours I was there between 9000 and 12000 hirundines had gone through, approximately 5000-6500 House Martins and 4000-5500 Swallows. I know this isn't particularly accurate but it does give some idea as to how they dominated the sky.
I've been having a poor time with moth trapping this past few weeks. Nothing really noteworthy has put in an appearance. When Colin Sumner, sent me a picture of a moth that was currently resting on his porch. I was pleased to see it was a Convulvulous Hawk-moth. Although not particularly rare it is a quite uncommon immigrant and always good to see. I popped round, in the rain and took a look. It seemed quite happy their although it's cryptic colours were not particularly suited to the colour of the bricks. I wasn't going to bother to run my traps tonight, but this changed my mind and I've put two out, fingers crossed!

No comments: