26 April 2013

Blackwits and a fall

The weather forecast last night looked promising for a fall - a partly clear night with a full moon, light winds (albeit from the north-west) and a cold front across southern England bringing cloud and rain before dawn, and high pressure over central Europe - so I decided on another early start at the patch this morning. After waiting out a heavy rain shower in the car, it was obvious there was a increase in grounded migrants.

A look at Stanwell Moor tallied up: 14 Blackcap (1H), 14 Common Whitethroat, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff and a Garden Warbler. Vis mig included 3 House Martin W, 3 Barn Swallow and a beautiful flock of 40 summer plumage Black-tailed Godwits that circled overhead a couple of times before heading east over King George VI Reservoir.

40 Black-tailed Godwits circled over Stanwell Moor at 08:21 before heading off east

Black-tailed Godwits, Stanwell Moor, 26 April 2013

On Staines Moor: 5 Whinchat (3m, 2f), 43 (12m, 31f) Northern Wheatear; a new patch record (and highest count since my previous record of 20+ on 15 April 2011), were around the anthills at the north end, and the bushes held 2 Reed Warbler, 7 Sedge Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 2 Lesser Whitethroat (1H), 10 Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and 9 Chiffchaff (3H). Overhead 1 Hobby N, 4 Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 6 Barn Swallow (3N, 3W), 1f Bullfinch high NE, 2 Shelduck E, 1 Pied Wagtail W and 5 Gadwall were noted.

Male Whinchat

Female Whinchat

1st summer male Northern Wheatear

1st summer female Northern Wheatear. More females than males passing through now.

5 of the 43+ Northern Wheatear on site today - the highest count ever recorded for Staines Moor

Also seen today; on Stanwell Moor 2 Hobby, 1 Barn Owl, 2+ Redshank, 2 Common Teal E, and on Staines Moor 1+ Redshank, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Little Egret and 1 Kingfisher along the Colne and a pair of Long-tailed Tits building a nest.

Weather pattern in the early hours of 26 April 2013. These birds set off under clear skies and very light winds, only to
encounter a cold front in the early hours, causing them to drop down.

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