Pett Level

17th October 2009, Saturday

Whereas some migrant birds such as Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches and Wagtails are happy to head off along the seawall, others prefer to follow the Royal Military Canal, skirting the ancient coastline. There is no traffic noise along the canal so calls can more easily be heard and flocks often pass at low level.
This morning an unusual number of Crossbills passed.
Good numbers have been seen at watch-points in recent weeks and I’ve seen a few flocks go over, but today I counted 98 – the most I’ve ever seen here. Most flocks were between 0800 and 0930 (16, 13, 11, 15, 14, 9) but the biggest group (20) flew past me at 1030.

Their arrival is usually preceded by their loud chip-chip contact call, which gives you a chance to search the sky for the birds themselves but you can’t always pick them out and this morning I heard another three flocks which I just couldn’t see.
Plenty of Siskins and Goldfinches were also going past, more Swallows and House Martins than in recent days, 2 GS Woodpeckers and a single Tree Sparrow.
Another thing of interest was a Yellowhammer heard calling from somewhere among cattle. They are very unusual on the marsh these days.

There’s an article about visible migration on Birdguides today: