Thursday, 30 October 2014

Thrushed with Success

Thrushes in their thousands going over (David Kinchin-smith)

Dusky Warbler caught and ringed (David Kinchin-smith)

One of five Black Redstarts (David Steel)

Yellowhammer (David Kinchin-smith)

Farnes rare! Moorhen! (David Kinchin-smith)

Thursday 30th October comments: It’s been some day. Over the last few weeks, dominating westerly winds have held up all the thrushes hoping to leave Scandinavia to head to the UK for the winter…until today. At long last the winds switched, favourable conditions prevailed and the floodgates opened. And the Thrushes took their opportunity in some style.

From first light until darkness (and even beyond that) huge numbers of Thrushes were counted heading westwards towards the mainland for the winter. This spectacular site is always impressive but even more so today as nearly 20,000 birds were counted flying over the islands (including a Farnes record count for Fieldfare).

Alongside the Thrushes good numbers of other birds recorded today heading to Britain for the winter included Bramblings and Woodcocks amongst others. As expected for the Farnes we also pulled in a ‘good rarity’ as an elusive Ducky Warbler was discovered on Brownsman. This was only the seventh ever record of this rare Siberian visitor to the islands and the first since 2003 and was caught and ringed late on in the day.

All in all, an impressive day with some birds. What will tomorrow bring…

Thrush Passage (all counted flying west):

Ring Ouzel     1
Blackbird       1,372
Redwing         9,407
Fieldfare         8,245 *New Farnes record*
Song Thrush   200

Black-throated Diver 1N through Inner Sound
Water Rail on Inner Farne
Moorhen juvenile on Brownsman (rare on Farnes!)
Short-eared Owl 1 over the outer group
Woodcock 34 (noticeable influx)
DUSKY WARBLER 7th record for the Farne Islands but first since 2003
Yellow-browed Warbler 3
Black Redstart 5

Other highlights; Whooper Swan 3N (adults), Brent Goose 9N (pale-bellied), Wigeon 201N, Teal 40, Goldeneye 4N, Red-breasted Merganser 2N, Goosander 1N, Red-throated Diver 2N 1S, Sparrowhawk 1 west, Peregrine, Golden Plover 2, Ruff 1 west, Lapwing 3 west, Snipe 12, Arctic Skua 1S, Great Skua 2N, Little Gull 40 south, Goldcrest 6, Skylark 12, Blackcap 22, Chiffchaff 3, Robin 22, Dunnock 10, Wheatear (late individual!), Twite 4, Brambling 42, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting 4 and Yellowhammer 2.