Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vis Mig

I’ve been following Visible Migration records for a while (eg here and more locally here). The Vis Mig yahoo group were having a big day today, so I thought I’d have a go.

The watch was taking place from 7-10, so at 7:30 prompt I arrived at my chosen place, Harlow Town Park. My recollection of many visits to the park was a clear vista over the Stort valley. It’s funny how your memory plays tricks, because as soon as I got there I realised it was unsuitable. It’s a great park, but the view is primarily of tree tops. Also, a difficulty is knowing whether some birds are genuinely migrating or simply moving round the park.

Anyway: here’s the records.
7:30 to 7:45. Redwing 10 NW, Sisking calling (3?), Jay 1 around.
7:45 to 8:00 Chaffinch 3N, Woodpigeon 400 W, Meadow Pipit 1 calling, Goldfinch c5W, Cormorant 3E
8:00 to 8:20 (I was interrupted by a curious passer by at this point) Redwing 8W, Grey Wagtail 1E (one of the park birds I think), Chaffinch 2N, Greenfinch 5 S
8:20 Lapwing c200 over the valley, with c50 Starlings, 1 Sparrowhawk.

At this point I decided to cut my losses. There weren’t many birds, and my calls are a bit crap as well; for instance I thought I heard a Yellowhammer early on, but as that would be an unusual record for the park, I’d prefer to see it.

Most moving birds seemed to be over the Stort, too far in the distance to ID from the park. I think its worth continuing to find a reasonable spot from which to view migration, but Harlow Town Park isn’t it.

I went home via Trim’s Green. 3 Golden Plover, several Skylarks up and singing. And nothing else.

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