Sunday, 2 November 2014
I feel I have glimpsed the autumn this year. Not in an unappreciative way, as I have been making sure I noticed each shade change in the hedgerow opposite the kitchen window, I listened each night for Redwing passage and each morning I have taken five minutes in the garden and noted the peaks and troughs in migrant Blackbirds and Song Thrushes and overhead movement of finches, pipits, larks, buntings, pigeons and even Jays.
When the wind turned East and the mizzle descended an eight strong flock of trilling Goldcrests took up a short residency within my garden hedges and hoards of Redwing fell from the greyness, befuddled and excitable. Brambling wheezed, unseen, overhead and Fieldfare chuckled their way westwards and that felt like my glimpse. With only one free day in my autumn to observe the annual flux of migrants along the east coast I managed to see some good quality scarcities but I missed that coastal dawn magic, when the air is full of wet mist and bird call, where the trees and bushes feel alive with freshly arrived migrants from Scandinavia and beyond.
I did get out for a dawn raid at Burwell Fen a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed Little, Tawny and Barn Owl on my drive. These pools constitute a 30 mile round trip from home so I don't frequent them as much as would possibly like. The wadery habitat was certainly attractive and had held a couple of Pectoral Sandpipers for weeks. Having captured these trans-Atlantic migrants (or are they coming from somewhere closer and to the east??) on "film" I wait, expectantly, for a call from the BBC's Natural History unit.
Winged but not feathered, I went back to some photo's from my summers moth trapping in the garden and identified this as a White Spotted Pinion and found that they are a scarce and localised species, as they are associated with Elm they are no doubt hanging out in the same trees that hold the White-letter Hairstreak, opposite the house.
Butterfly Conservation have a factsheet here:
White Spotted Pinion