Friday, 23 October 2009

A (comparatively) calm day brought reasonable numbers of common autumn migrants. Finches were again very obvious, with around 195 Chaffinches, 85 Greenfinches, nine Goldfinches, six Siskins, four Redpolls and three Bramblings logged. Thrushes included 24 Blackbirds, 22 Song Thrushes, five Redwings and a Ring Ouzel, while overhead visible migration involved 19 Swallows, 18 Skylarks, three Grey Wagtails and two Rooks. A Black Redstart and a Wheatear were still around, as were ten Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps five Goldcrests and a Firecrest. 630 Starlings were on the Narrows, five Reed Buntings were dotted around the lowlands and a Coal Tit (the first of the autumn) arrived to join the seven Great Tits, one Blue Tit and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Two Great Northern Divers flew past at sea, and the gull flock contained two Little Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull.

Although the Grey Phalarope from last week gave excellent views in the field, having the bird in the hand provided an opportunity to see some of its less obvious adaptations. The bill is broad and flattened, unlike the other two species of phalarope, and the toes have peculiar fleshy lobes and webs like a coot. It is these lobes that give the birds their unusual name: Phalarope comes from the Greek for coot-foot. Photos (c) Richard Else

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