Monday, 9 November 2015

Birds of October

Hard to see, even harder to photograph - but a new bird to me, a pretty little yellow-browed warbler hiding in dense foliage.

Migrants are still passing through in good numbers in October, and the first winter visitors begin turning up too - geese, swans, winter thrushes. Nationally, a massive influx of yellow-browed warblers was felt even here, with a pair visiting the north end of the coast briefly. To the south, the first snow bunting appeared; these lovely little creatures are surprisingly common on the beach in the winter, although they are not totally reliable and often hard to see. It didn't stay long, though - December tends to be a better month in my short experience.

Short-eared owls have also been reported in large numbers across the country, and two or three hung around the local area for over a week - but my one trip out to locate one was a failure (I haven't given up though, Scotland may provide better chances). A long weekend in Nottingham offered little opportunity for birds, but I did visit a park with resident red-crested pochard, alas absent - but a handsome male mandarin was even better.

Otherwise, it's been a frustrating time, with masses of amazing-sounding birds anywhere but here in the north west of England - sadly if you want rarities, you're much better off almost anywhere else.

October 2015
2 species (1 lifer) - year total 165
Yellow-browed warbler