Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve

9th October 2008, Thursday

Wednesday October 8th
As I was admiring the saturated red of a bracken bank, a hard metallic pitt! announced the arrival overhead of a Hawfinch, heading for Hastings. They are difficult birds to see around here and are scarce on migration anywhere.
With a north-west wind blowing through clear blue skies, diurnal migrants were going in both directions.

While frequent bands of Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Siskins and Redpolls were heading east over the hilltop, Chaffinches and Song Thrushes were making their way westwards, along with hundreds of House Martins which accumulated in feeding flocks in the lee of woods and hillsides. The contact notes of grounded thrushes and Chaffinches could be heard coming from everywhere in the coastal scrub, as well as those of Robins, Reed Buntings and Goldcrests, but the Ring Ouzels I’d hoped for do not yet seem to have got moving.
There were however about a dozen Jays flying west in the space of half an hour, including one group of 7 and another individual high above the tree line. These were distinct from the local pairs which shuttle up and down the hedgerows, beaks jammed open with acorns.
Two more significant species called from the sky later: a fluting, stubby Woodlark which flew over Chris & me as we were looking at Wasp Spider cocoons outside Lime Kiln Cottage and the first Redwings of autumn, wheezing in the darkness above Hasting Old Town in the evening.