6 October 2015

Autumn migration in north-east Poland: 26 September - 3 October

A mix of departing summer migrants and incoming winter visitors were on the move in Poland last week, with migration evident at both Białowieża Forest and Biebrza Marshes including visible passage overhead and plenty of common migrants on the ground. Overhead passage consisted mainly of noisy flocks of Common Cranes, small groups or singles of Eurasian Jays (with many present in Białowieża Forest), Yellowhammers, Siskins, Chaffinches, Tree Sparrows, White Wagtails and a few raptors, mostly heading in a south-east to south-west direction. On the ground, Common Chiffchaffs were seemingly everywhere, and Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts were not uncommon. A few notebook entries below.

An hour's skywatching from the hotel balcony at Hotel Białowieża on 27 September produced 24 Eurasian Jay mainly SE (plus 2 local birds), 3 Common Chiffchaff feeding then off SE, 9 Raven E, 3 Chaffinch SE, 1 Siskin and 1 Song Thrush SW. Also on the 27th, 176+ Common Crane were counted over Białowieża town throughout the day.

A ploughed field on the north side of Białowieża town by the police station attracted a number of passage migrants. On the 28 September, 7 1st-W/f Black Redstart, 30+ Yellowhammer, 7+ White Wagtail, 10 Chaffinch (4 over SE) and 1 Common Chiffchaff were present, as well as 18 Common Crane over SE and 12 White Stork SE. Just c6 Yellowhammer being hunted by 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk (pic below) were present on 29th. On the 30th, 1 Great Grey Shrike, 1f Brambling, 1 Linnet, 1 1st-W/f Black Redstart, c13 Yellowhammer, 3 Chaffinch and 2 White Wagtail were noted, along with a Kestrel and a 1st-W m Eurasian Sparrowhawk over S.

Common Cranes, Kosy Most Bridge, Białowieża Forest, 28 September. V formations of Common Cranes were
frequently seen (and heard) throughout the day moving south-west over Białowieża Forest.

1st-W male Eurasian Sparrowhawk hunting Yellowhammers in a ploughed field at Białowieża town, 29 September

Around Biebrza Marshes notable migrants included: 21 Barn Swallow S over Fort 1 "Zarzeczny", just south of Osowiec (hirundines were very scarce throughout the trip) on 1 October, and 52+ Common Crane in fields east of Karwowo on 1st, and a similar number of Common Crane, 2 Fieldfare S, a small flock of Tree Sparrow, 7 White Wagtail (dropped down to the ground), 1 Siskin, 3 Reed Bunting, 1m Yellowhammer, 1 Greenfinch, 3 Chaffinch, and 2 Goldfinch at Bialy Grad (near the village of Mścichy) all on 1st.

Part of a 28 strong flock of Common Cranes east of the village of Radziłów, Biebrza Marshes, 1 October

Common Cranes, Bialy Grad, Biebrza Marshes, 1 October. Several large flocks were feeding in the fields around Biebrza Marshes,
as well as roosting out on the marshes.

On 2nd, fields east of Plochowo held 30+ Mistle Thrush, 6+ White Wagtail and 2 Chaffinch, with 7 Barn Swallow and 9 Chaffinch SE overhead. At Wólka Piaseczna 5+ Black Redstart (2 ad m, 1 1st-W m, 1 f and 1 1st-W f), 2 Yellowhammer, 5 Northern Lapwing, 1f Hen Harrier WSW, a 1st-W Nothern Goshawk WSW and 4 Jay over were noted, as well as 1 Honey Buzzard flushed from woodland at Brzeziny Kapickie and another 8 Mistle Thrush there.

Also on 2nd, a Peregrine went over SW at Grzedy and an hour late afternoon skywatching at the bridge over the River Jegrznia near Kuligi produced 2 Fieldfare S, 28 Siskin S (including several dropping down into the reeds by the river then heading off W), 2 Greenfinch S, 1 Mistle Thrush SE, 5 Chaffinch SW-WSW, several Yellowhammer SW, 3 Eurasian Jay SW, and 2 Common Chiffchaff in the reeds. At dusk 9 Tundra (rossicus) Bean Geese in a flock of 24 European (albifrons) White-fronted Geese (all adults except for a pair with 3 juveniles) in a stubble field east of Jezioro Tajno lake near Tajenko were also seen.

1st-W Black Redstart, Wólka Piaseczna, Biebrza Marshes, 2 October. Small numbers were present in the fields around Białowieża
Forest and Biebrza Marshes, mainly 1st-W/female types.

The cemetery and the surrounding fields at Osowiec was also attracting migrant passerines. An hour or so on the 3rd produced 2m Brambling in with c100 Yellowhammer, 102+ Greenfinch, 14 Linnet, 1 Goldfinch, 293 European Starling, 1 White Wagtail, 8 Tree Sparrow (2 S), 4 Skylark off W, 1 Fieldfare S, 8 Barn Swallow S, 1 Eurasian Jay S, 2 Chaffinch S and 1 Blackbird SW.

Small numbers of Yellowhammer were moving over and large numbers as well as feeding in the fields. This was one of a flock of
approximately 100 feeding around the cemetery on the edge of the village of Osowiec, Biebrza, on 3 October.

1st-W male Greenfinch, Osowiec cemetery, Biebrza Marshes, 3 October. One of a flock of at least 102 present here.

One of two male Brambling in with the Greenfinch flock at Osowiec cemetery, Biebrza Marshes, 3 October

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