Autumn Migration

Common Darter
Common Darter
It's October, migration should be well under way by now, and hitting its peak mid month, well that is the theory at least. And when migration is under way I like to try and get out as much as possible. Being out on the patch means you could turn up anything (others do after all). But you do sometimes have to be there, things can move through quickly not there you may miss out (although this is more pronounced in Spring migration, birds tend to hang around more in Autumn, making sure they have fed up enough before the longest parts of their journeys).

With that in mind after finishing work this morning at 07:00 I headed home to pack the little lady off to school and then headed out for a few hours (daughter pick up was needed later, so I had to make the most of my time).

Autumn Migration


The weather on the patch was a little misty as I headed out of the door but you could feel the warmth of the sun burning it off (actually as an early aside today has been hotter than most of July and August!) as I crossed the dew soaked grass, late migrating Swallows were passing over in small numbers along side quite a few Skylarks, and all in all it felt like it was going to be a pleasant walk today.

Following my oft walked path I headed down through the old lock, and  listening to good numbers of Chiffchaff intermixing their autumn "wheet" with a few blasts of their summer song, and Blackcaps "chacking" away deep in the bushes, I was lost in a world of wonder at how the sounds can change so through the years, when I was disturbed from my daydream but the screeching call of two Little Egrets as they tussled their way along the river.

Now Wednesday I posted a little about how I had learnt a new setup for my camera for birds in flight (Last September Ramble) and having my camera set for this as I walk really paid off today when a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker started chasing each other around the bushes. All of a sudden I had the perfect opportunity to try my settings out, and well... i think the photo below speaks for itself, but these settings are brilliant!

Great spotted Woodpecker coming in for a landing
Great spotted Woodpecker coming in for a landing.


After a few more minutes watching the woodpeckers (and listening to a Green Woodpecker yaffle away behind me somewhere) I headed off through the cattle creep and off in search of more excitement.

The same woodpecker perched
The same woodpecker perched


Ouse Valley


Strolling along the riverbank in the late autumn sun is kind of special, the sounds of mixed tit flocks (Long-tailed tit, Blue tit and Great tit mainly) as the pass through the treetops like a herd of wildebeast, the piping tuneful whistles of Wigeon can be heard from the pits and Gulls seem to fill the air.

And it was one of the tit flocks that stopped me in my tracks as the tiny ball on a stick long tailed tits dropped down and flittered about the trees mere inches from my head, this one flock was joined by at least 2 Chiffchaff ,1 Willow Warbler and 1 Goldcrest.

Long-tailed Tit calling to the rest of the party
Long-tailed Tit calling to the rest of the party


But it is not just birds that fill me with excitement while following the slow moving river, the path and fence posts at this time of year become a great place to watch as Common Darter warm their prehistoric bodies in the heat of the sun. While, denizens of the air, Migrant Hawkers, buzz the bushes and feast of the remaining insects still on the wing, it can be truly magical to watch.

Common Darter resting on a post
Common Darter resting on a post

A close up of a Common Darters face
A close up of a Common Darters face

Male Common Darter warming up on a fence post
Male Common Darter warming up on a fence post


More Birds in flight


While the wished for migrants never did materialise (I still think it is too clear, birds just don't need to stop and feed up!) I did have further opportunities to practice my birds in flight photography, so here are the remaining photos from the day, I hope you enjoy them.

Cormorant in flight
Cormorant in flight

Carrion Crow in flight
Carrion Crow in flight

Rook in flightRook in flight
Rook in flight

Rook in flight
Rook in flight


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