Thursday, 30 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 30/09/10 07.20am (5°c) Cold, Sunny with Clear skies 1/8 Wind calm-SW F1/2. High cloud moved in later a.m

Visible Migration 07.20-11.20am
8 Goosander >E (Flew over the Top Footpath at 08.55am) (Only the 4th record for Lutley Wedge)
1 Merlin (Flew through hunting birds over towards Foxcote Pond)
150 Meadow Pipit >S/SW
20 alba Wagtail >S/SW
1 Grey Wagtail >E
4 Siskin >S
6 Goldfinch >S
6 Linnet >W/SW/N
5 Thrush sp (Redwing/Song Thrush) (2 >S, 2 >NNW, 1 >NE)
1 Chiffchaff
43 Swallow (31 >S)
1 House Martin
23+ B.H.Gulls >W/SW
23+ L.B.B Gulls >W/SW

Also seen:- 1 Little Owl (First sighting at Lutley Wedge for several years) 

Sunrise Lutley Wedge 30/9/10

Goosander, Siskin and Grey Wagtail Lutley Wedge 30/9/10

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 28/09/10 07.10am (12°c) Grey and Overcast with mist/low cloud 8/8 Wind E/SE F1

The mist and low cloud stifled and blocked migration this morning and apart from the minor highlight of the first Song Thrush of the autumn flying over and 'dropping out' and 6 Redwing heading North there seemed to be very little moving in any numbers. A trickle of Meadow Pipits and slightly better numbers of alba Wagtails struggled through in the murk and there were no real movements of migrant thrushes even though the breeze was blowing from a normally favourable ESE direction. After a large fall of migrants on the East coast yesterday it seems as if the poor weather and low cloud here and further east kept most of the grounded birds grounded!     
Visible Migration 07.10-11.10am
6 Redwing >N
1 Song Thrush >S (in)
2 Thrush sp >SW (Redwing/Song Thrush)
18 Meadow Pipit
43 alba Wagtail
1 Grey Wagtail >N
5 Swallow
4 House Martin
1 Chiffchaff
1 Goldcrest
47 Chaffinch
70+ Goldfinch >SW
21 Linnet
2 Redpoll sp >WNW
16+ L.B.B Gull
22+ B.H Gull
3 Raven (2 >NW 1 >N)

alba Wagtail and Song Thrush in the clag! Lutley Wedge 28/9/10

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 26/09/10 07.10am (5°c) Cold, clear skies early a.m 3/8 some cloud to N/E. Clouded over later a.m 8/8. Wind cold NW F1/2 - N3

A Visible migration watch this morning, saw a small influx of Redwings flying in from the SE and heading into the brisk NW wind during the first two hours of the watch. In total 11 flew through, with the first (4) Redwing >N at 07.17am followed by a further (2)(2) + (3) all heading >NW. A small number of Swallows trickled through also heading >NW into the wind. The first Siskin and Redpoll of the Autumn flew over, and a male Peregrine flew in high over the Top Footpath. The Peregrine 'stooped' and caught a small bird (possibly a Starling) before flying off high >NE, carrying and plucking it's prey in mid air!

Visible Migration 07.10am-11.40am :-
11 Redwing >N/NW
4 Mistle Thrush >S
66 Meadow Pipit >W/S/SW
12 alba Wagtail
35 Swallow (15 >W/NW)
2 Redpoll sp >SSE
1 Siskin >S 
10 Chaffinch >S/W
1M Peregrine >NE
2 Raven >S
27 B.H Gull >W
14 L.B.B Gull >W

'Waning gibbous' moon and Redwing flying >NW Lutley Wedge 26/9/10

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 'Blast from the Past' Wryneck 20/8/2001

In the absence of any patch news today, i've dug out a historic photograph of Lutley Wedge's first record of Wryneck from 2001, which i found sunning itself in an elderberry at Foxcote pond on 20th August. This was the first sighting in the West Midlands county since 1995, and although the bird was an 'arch skulker' i managed to take just two photographs, before it flew to a nearby hedgerow and disappeared, never to be seen again.... How many i wonder, pass quietly through the Midlands every autumn and never get found? I only had to wait 9 years for my second patch Wryneck!..

Wryneck Lutley Wedge August 2001

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 22/09/10 07.20am (11°c) Bright, high cloud 8/8 Wind Calm/ENE1-S2

Slightly quieter migration wise this morning, but still good numbers of birds on the move first thing. The autumns first Redwing flew >SW at 07.30am (N.b 4 Redwings were also reported to the south, on Bredon Hill today) and good numbers of Hirundines again passed through to the SSW. There was an increase in the number of alba Wagtails moving, though numbers of Meadow Pipits appeared to be tailing off from previous days. Most passage seemed to have dried up by around 10.20am, with just a trickle of Mipits after that.

Visible Migration 07.20-10.20am:-
1 Redwing >SW
152 Swallow >S/SW
171 House Martin >S/SW
53+ Hirundine sp >SW
102 Meadow Pipit >S/SW
18 alba Wagtail >S/SW
5 Chiffchaff
1 Blackcap
1 Reed Bunting >N
8 Chaffinch >S/SW
2 Raven >SW/S

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 21/09/10 07.20am (10°c) Broken high cloud 6/8 some patchy mist/low cloud. (clearing to sun/scattered cloud later a.m) Wind Calm-S1

'Early mist' looking East Lutley Wedge 21/9/10

Wryneck flying >South Lutley Wedge 21/9/10

'Mipits' at high altitude! Lutley Wedge 21/9/10

Swallow 'checking' in flight Lutley Wedge 21/9/10

Undoubted highlight this morning was the Wryneck which flew over >South towards Clent at 09.00am, the 2nd sighting of Wryneck at Lutley Wedge. (The first Wryneck for the patch i also found, in August 2001). 
Swallows were surging through to the S/SW in good numbers, along with smaller numbers of Meadow pipits and House Martins, with some birds overflying very high up making counting difficult. Overall totals of birds flying through were probably much higher as some were no doubt missed. A late Willow Warbler was in the gardens at Grange Farm.

Visible Migration 0720-11.20am :-
1 Wryneck >S
338+ Swallow >S/SW
112+ House Martin >S/SW
178+ Meadow Pipit >S/SW
4 alba Wagtail >S/SW
1 Willow Warbler
2 Chiffchaff
4 Blackcap
1 Common Whitethroat

1 Red Admiral >SW

Sunday, 19 September 2010

19/09/10 Frampton Marsh Lincolnshire

Lapland Bunting (1st-winter) Frampton Marsh, Lincs 19/09/10

An 'off patch' visit to Frampton marsh RSPB reserve on the Lincolnshire side of The Wash today, where i found this stunning Lapland Bunting on the Saltmarsh near the viewpoint. I first picked out the 'Lap Bunt' on flight call as it flew in with two Meadow Pipits from the Northeast at 11.55am, before 'dropping out' onto the Saltmarsh. 
Also seen on the reserve:-
3 Little Stint
1 juv Curlew Sandpipier
25 Dunlin
17+ Ruff
35+ Black-Tailed Godwit
1 Grey Plover >SW
370 Golden Plover
25+ Lapwing
6+ Ringed Plover
43+ Wigeon+6 Pintail >SW (dropped in)
1 Sparrowhawk
1 Marsh Harrier (F/juv)
7 Yellow Wagtail >SW (3 in)
1 (F/1s) Wheatear
50+ Meadow Pipit
10+ Swallow
1 House Martin

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 18/09/10 07.20am (6°c) Cool, sunny with broken cloud 3/8. Wind W1-WNW2

Meadow pipits were continuing to push through this morning in good numbers with 110 in the first hour from 07.20-08.20am flying S/SW with numbers tailing off slowly after that, but birds were still flying over in small numbers at 11.00am. Also a few small groups of Swallows flew very low through to the S/SW early on.

Visible Migration 07.20-10.20am
245 Meadow Pipit >S/SW
6 alba Wagtail >S/SW
30 Swallow (26 >S/SW)
14 House Martin
2 Raven >SW
2 Chiffchaff

1 Red Admiral  >SSW

Meadow Pipit and Common Buzzard Lutley Wedge 18/9/10

'The sweet sound of vis mig!' Meadow Pipit flight call Lutley Wedge 18/9/10 
Meadow Pipit (flight call) by Lutley Birder

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 16/09/10 07.10am (10°c) Cool+breezy with broken cloud 6/8 (Clouded over late a.m 8/8 with heavy rain showers/drizzle) Wind W2/3-NW3

Just one of the hundreds! Meadow Pipit heading >SW Lutley Wedge 16/9/10

Juvenile Peregrine Lutley Wedge 16/9/10

A record passage of Meadow Pipits over the patch today with approx 620 'mipits' flying through in 4.5 hours. Virtually all the movement was to the South and Southwest with a peak in passage between 10.10am and 11.10am when an incredible almost 200 an hour were passing through, and with only a slight drop off in the next hour with 174 between 11.10am-12.10pm. Numbers of birds seemed to tail off sharply after that with only 64 in the next half hour, until i gave up the watch at 12.40pm. The largest flocks/groups of birds were between 20-30 and birds were passing at all heights with some flocks very high overhead, meaning that the overall total passing may have been even higher due to some birds being missed. Also 1 juvenile Peregrine flew through low over the Top Footpath >SW at 08.50am and almost caught a feral Pigeon right in front of me, before flying off! 

Visible Migration 07.10am-12.40pm
620 Meadow Pipit >S/SW
6 alba Wagtail >S/SE/SW
1 Peregrine >SW
2 Raven >SW/N
3 Swallow
17 House Martin
2 Chiffchaff

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 12/09/10 08.00am (10°c) Sunny, Clear skies 1/8 (Scattered cloud and showers later) Wind WNW 1/2-NW 2

Wheatear just about avoiding oncoming tractor Lutley Wedge 12/09/10

Wheatear Lutley Wedge 12/09/10

Great Spotted Woodpecker Lutley Wedge 12/09/10 (sadly probably just a local, rather than an irruptive Scandinavian!)

With high pressure building in from the west overnight, skies this morning were virtually cloud free first thing. Not suprisingly it was pretty quiet 'vis mig wise' in the fairly settled conditions, and what birds that did pass overhead were quite high up and difficult to pick out against the bright, clear sky overhead, most birds probably remaining unseen if not for flight calls! Small numbers of Meadow Pipits were again moving throughout the morning and a late Swift flew over. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen coming in from around 1/4 mile away flying south quite high over the Top Footpath, but hopes of a first ' vis mig Great Spot' were dashed when it dropped down into some dead trees near Grange Farm, indicating it was probably just a slightly adventurous local!
The incredible run of Wheatear sightings this autumn at Lutley continued, with 2 Wheatears seen in a ploughed field along the Top Footpath at 10.00am.

Visible Migration 08.00-12.00pm :-
2 Wheatear
41 Meadow Pipit 
1 alba Wagtail >S
1 Grey Wagtail >S
1 Swift
30 Swallow
23 House Martin
1 Chiffchaff
3 Blackcap
2 Raven >NW

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 11/09/10 07.50am (16°c) Cloudy and breezy 7/8 some low cloud, Wind S3-SSW3

Tree Pipit heading >SE Lutley Wedge 11/9/10

Hirundines were on the move this morning, mainly Swallows and House Martins but also 2 Sand Martins. Swallows were passing very low >WSW until around 08.30am when passage slowed before more Swallows started coming through, but heading mainly >S, again with lots of birds passing at 'knee top' height! 
1 Tree Pipit flew in high over the Top Footpath 'speezing', heading >SE across the wind at 08.00am and 16 Lapwing flew through in the distance towards Frankley heading >SW. Only low numbers of Meadow Pipits moved through this morning. 

Visible  Migration 07.50-10.50am :-
1 Tree Pipit >SE
19 Meadow Pipit (14 >S/SE, 5 >WSW)
2 Sand Martin >W
134 Swallow (82 >W, 45 >S/SW)
130+ House Martin >W/SW
1 Swift (over Lutley Brook with House Martins at 4.15pm) (S.L.C)
16 Lapwing >SW
2 Raven >E/SE
7 Blackcap
3 Chiffchaff

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 09/09/10 07.05am (12°c) Sunny scattered cloud 4/8 Wind W1-WSW1/2

Spotted Flycatcher (1st-winter) Wassell Grove Pools 9/9/10

A quieter day migration wise. 1 Tree Pipit flew over at 08.40am and a trickle of Meadow Pipits in small numbers flew over through the morning and early afternoon. The highlight was a Spotted Flycatcher in the hedgerow at Wassell Grove Pools (only the 2nd 'Spot Fly' this autumn), and 60 House Martins were seen 'sunning' on the roof tiles of Grange Farm.

Visible Migration :-
1 Spotted Flycatcher
1 Tree Pipit
42 Meadow Pipit 
1 alba Wagtail >S
1 Grey Wagtail >S
60 House Martin
22+ Swallow
26 Goldfinch
1 Chaffinch >SE
9 L.B.B Gull
12 Black-headed Gull
1 Raven >E/SE
4 Canada Geese >W
4 Chiffchaff
5 Blackcap
1 Goldcrest

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 08/09/10 07.20am (9°c) High broken cloud 6/8 Wind Calm-Var W/NE1

Wheatear, Hobby and Yellow Wagtails Lutley Wedge 8/9/10

Another good day with plenty of signs of continuing migration. Good visible migration this morning, with more Meadow Pipits starting to move south, and also 2 Yellow Wagtails and 2 Tree Pipits passed over. 1 Hobby was seen hunting over the Top Footpath again, and 2 Cormorants flew high to the east. The record Wheatear passage continues with 2 Wheatear dropping into the stubble fields along Top Footpath at 08.50am and another 1 Wheatear in a ploughed field with 1 Whinchat at 10.10am. (Whinchat have been particularly scarce this autumn and this mornings was only the second sighting this autumn at Lutley)

Visible Migration:-
2 flava Wagtail >S
2 Tree Pipit
51 Meadow Pipit (32>S 16>E 3>in)
1 alba Wagtail >SE
1 Grey Wagtail>E
1 Whinchat
3 Wheatear
1 Hobby >E/SE 
23+ Swallow
25+ House Martin
2 Chiffchaff
5 Blackcap
47 Goldfinch (31>S)
90+ Linnet
1 Chaffinch >SE

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 07/09/10 07.00am (12°c/19°c) Broken cloud 5/8, quickly clearing then sunny and scattered cloud. (Heavy thundery showers later p.m) Wind S2-SSE2/3

Rainfall radar U.K 22.30 6/9/10 

Classic 'fall' conditions overnight grounded a record autumn count of 11 Wheatears on the patch this morning, as a band of heavy rain moved NE across the U.K combined with a strong SE wind off the continent, with the rain clearing around 23.30. 
The first indication that Wheatears were arriving came with 2 seemingly moving quickly through the patch early a.m. At 07.30am a Wheatear flew low over the Top Footpath >SE, followed by another at 08.40am also flying through low >SW over the Top Footpath. This bird perched briefly on the roof of Grange Farm barns, before quickly disappearing. 
At 10.50am 3 Wheatears had 'dropped out' into a ploughed field near Grange Farm, and another 2 Wheatear were seen along the track down to Wassell Grove Pools briefly at 11.35am. Finally another 4 Wheatear were in a ploughed field at the far end of the Top Footpath at 1.00pm. This field had been checked earlier and had held only a single Wheatear. 
The clear impression i got was that birds that had been grounded overnight by the bad weather, had started to move as the weather front cleared during the morning bringing favourable conditions for onward migration. Some of these birds were then obviously 'dropping out' to feed in the first suitable habitat they flew over. 

Most of the Wheatears seen in today's fall, appeared to show a darker rufous plumage than typical Northern Wheatear, but with the current weather pattern favouring drift migration from the East and the prevailing wind coming from the SE this would seemingly rule out these birds coming from the NW i.e Greenland and Iceland (leucorhoa). They could however be nominate Wheatear from Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia which can also show a darker rufous fresh plumage (similar to leucorhoa) in the autumn. 

Wheatear Lutley Wedge 7/9/10

Wheatear Lutley Wedge 7/9/10 (one of today's more rufous examples)

Hobby Lutley Wedge 7/9/10
Common Whitethroat Lutley Wedge 7/9/10
Visible Migration/Migrant totals

11 Wheatear
1 Yellow Wagtail
1 Hobby (Hunting over Grange farm/Foxcote)
1 Sand Martin
120+ House Martin
32+ Swallows
11 Swifts
2 Lesser Whitethroat
8 Common Whitethroat
2+ Blackcap
2+ Chiffchaff
1 Herring Gull >E
45 Black-headed Gull >(S/W)
12+ L.B.B Gull

190 Starling
250+ Woodpigeon
65 Greenfinch
70+ Linnet

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 05/09/10 07.00am (12°c) 6/8 Broken high cloud (8/8 overcast with light rain later a.m) ESE 2-3

Ruddy Shelduck heading East Lutley Wedge 5/9/10

A Ruddy Shelduck flew over >E at 10.05am and was the first record for the local patch. 
(Ruddy Shelduck is in Category B on the British bird list, and is classed as a 'Scarce escapee or feral visitor and possible rare vagrant' in 'The New Birds of the West Midlands 2005'.) Whether todays flyover bird was a genuine wild vagrant or more likely a feral or escaped bird, i guess i'll never know, but interestingly the monthly distribution of sightings in the Midlands does show a peak in passage birds during late summer between July-September, tying in nicely with my sighting. The only other sign of visible migration this morning was 1 Yellow Wagtail >SW at 10.00am.
Visible migration 07.00-10.30am
1 Ruddy Shelduck >E
1 flava Wagtail >SW
1 alba Wagtail >SE
9 House Martin >S (130+ House Martin around Grange Farm)
6 Meadow Pipit (5 >ESE 1 >S)
8 Black-headed Gull >W
6 L.B.B Gull 

16+ Swallow
1 Chiffchaff
1 Common Whitethroat
1 Raven >WSW
40+ Linnet
40 Greenfinch
150 Starling

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Hasbury/Halesowen 04/09/10 7.10pm

Just 'off patch' 1 Whimbrel flew >SW over my garden at 7.10 pm whilst i was setting up the moth trap! 

Friday, 3 September 2010

Lutley Wedge 03/09/10 06.50am (10°c) Early a.m, sunny mostly clear skies overhead with some patchy mist/low cloud (Low cloud soon moving in from E/SE but cleared later am) SE/E1

Low cloud moving in from the east Lutley Wedge 3/9/10

Sand Martin Lutley Wedge 3/9/10

Wheatear Lutley Wedge 3/9/10 (the 7th this autumn) 

Very little evidence of 'vis mig' this morning as the low cloud drifted in from the East inhibiting passage. Just 4 Swallows headed south before the cloud rolled in, and 1 Cormorant flew through low >SW obviously dis-orientated by the murk, appearing out of the mist briefly before disappearing back into it just as quickly! 
The record autumn Wheatear passage at Lutley continued this morning, with 1 (juv) Wheatear dropping into the recently harvested fields near Grange farm at 09.40am when the skies had cleared of low cloud. 1 Hobby flew over >ESE at 07.10am, and when the mist and low cloud cleared an influx of 70+ Swallows, 60+ House Martins and 1 (adult) Sand Martin were around Grange Farm. (Sand Martin is an 'uncommon passage migrant' here so this mornings perched bird on the power line at Grange Farm was a good local patch record) 

Visible Migration 07.00-09.30am
1 Wheatear
1 Hobby >ESE
1 Cormorant >SW
2 Meadow Pipit >SW
2 Grey Wagtail >S
2 alba Wagtail >S
2 L.B.B Gull >W

1 Sand Martin
70+ Swallow
60+ House Martin
1 Swift
3 Blackcap
1 Common Whitethroat
1 Chiffchaff