Much of this is to do with weather, not just around our geographical region but much more influenced on a global scale. El niño, Nor’Easter, Coriolis effects, the nuances and variations within weather patterns will never be fully understood particularly when considering avian vagrancy.
We hit the end of September and with a huge ridge of high pressure sat across much of the UK extending out into the Atlantic and Continental Europe. There has been a dearth of rare vagrants up and down the British Isles. This of course could all literally change with the wind, a critical element of the weather system that birders always keep a close eye on.
It did however feel like an end-of-season affair at Farlington Marshes. A bit like two mid-table teams contesting their final match with nothing really to play for apart from the semblance of pride. Birding was pedestrian, the warm sun shone during the morning clinging onto the coat-tails of the balmy summer most have enjoyed.
The walk round was quiet, a Peregrine was being typically harassed, this time by two Kestrel. As the tide began to race in, waders were being forced off the marsh. Decent groups of flighty Ringed Plover and Dunlin were seen scampering along the shore where further out, Curlew, Oystercatcher, and around fifty Grey Plover were on the move. Eleven Bar-tailed Godwit roosted along a narrow finger of shingle.
A juvenile Northern Wheatear fed busily around the anthills. A scattering of Swallow headed through the reserve.
At the pool, wader numbers were now building. Large groups of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, and Dunlin were present there with six Knot, and a single Common Snipe. Pintail numbers were increasing that included a handsome roosting drake.
Dropping into Tice’s Meadow on the way back was a first visit to this new reserve. It looked great, with a mosaic of habitat that included some decent pools, a large area of moorland, deciduous woodland and scrub. Looks like a good winter birding site.
Here, a juvenile Peregrine was marauding around the marsh, and my first Bullfinch of the year was a juvenile and a glowing male in the woodland.