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Migration and the wind

Posted by Jeff Butcher 
Migration and the wind
November 02, 2014 03:18PM
After three days easterlies and before the wind shifted, I visited Spurn on 15 October to find a disappointing lack of unusual birds - did add great grey shrike and Isabelline shrike to my year list. Truly fascinating though were the goldcrests - Spurn reported 1200 that day. They were everywhere, in bushes and trees, in gardens, pecking on lawns, in fields, even on footpaths - amazing sight.

Then came a battering of west winds right across us and the North Sea.

On 30 and 31st October we went to North Norfolk. Strong south winds blowing. All day both days a steady trickle of starlings, up to 60 at a time, mostly flying westwards along the coast but a number coming in off the sea. On Friday at Holkham we had meadow pipits coming in over the dunes and flopping on the beach, with two water pipits as well. Skylarks seems to be everywhere, possibly also arriving, and with them one shore lark. At Titchwell beach we saw a marsh harrier coming in from the sea quite high, really being held back by the wind. It finally managed to drop onto the beach, as did a peregrine which we didn't see arrive but were told it was similar. We then saw a buzzard high up again pushing against the wind, and again taking ages to reach the shoreline.

We heard other people say they had been watching redwings coming in at wave top level and collapsing on the beach. There seemed to be very few thrushes around the area, more blackbirds, but I did wonder how many had fallen into the sea against such strong winds.

We know easterlies and westerlies produce unusual falls of birds trying to go elsewhere, but the effect of westerlies and southerlies on birds trying to get here must be devastating.

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