Sunday 20 March 2022

Head's up!

With light winds and good visibility birds are on the move day and night. With a head's up from Ollie Metcalfe who had seen a message from a birder in Lancashire who had heard Common Scoters flying over shortly after dark, I got myself positioned in the front garden ready to intercept anything heading over. It is a bit awkward standing in my front garden as I am likely to be quizzed by neighbours and others as they pass by, but if I go into the back garden, all sound is drowned out by next door's water feature! 

Shortly, the whistling of male Wigeon could be heard high above. Switching on the thermal imager I'd borrowed from work, I could see a three large flocks of Wigeon heading purposefully east. It was great to be able to see these birds aswell as hear them for once!

Single birds and small groups of what were presumably ducks headed silently east, with an occasional bird north. It was magical to see these lifeforms, high in the night sky, flying steadily towards distant breeding grounds. It filled me with complete wonder. 

I soon heard the characteristic beeping of Common Scoters and a flock of about 25 birds moved over. 

To witness these seaducks over my house in inland Yorkshire is simply incredible! A few moments later a couple of smaller flocks followed in their wake. 


Next up, a low-flying Water Rail with characteristic call was a complete surprise and the first I've had from the house. Garden tick; nice! Things quietened down hereafter, save the distant Greylags honking down on the flooded ings beside the Ouse, and a vocal Tawny Owl near the cycletrack. 


The following night (Tuesday, 14th) saw more small flocks of Common Scoters and a lagre flock of Wigeon, but it generally seemed quieter, so I gave up by 9pm.

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