Friday, 27 September 2013

Spring Migration 2

Well the swifts and house martins have gone from around Buxton as far as I can see.

I was over Peak Dale the other day and there was quite a large number of swallows feeding in the fields along upper end road. A flock of around 10-20 individuals. I would have thought that they would be heading back to Africa on their return migration. Other areaS where I see swallows like the Goyt Valley, Manchester Road in Buxton, Combs reservoir and Fernilee reservoir all seem to have recognised the shortening of the day light hours and flown away. However, the birds in Peak Dale don't seem to have picked up on this. It would be interesting to note the day they depart.

Has the recent warm spell thrown them off a little. There's still plenty of flying insects to feed on at the moment. I have seem several different types of caterpillars on my walks. Some large and green the others very hairy like little bears. Still lots of peacock butterflies around, so maybe this crazy weather that we've had this year has still thrown nature off a little. A friend of mine has got some broad beans flowering on his allotment. Maybe he'll get some beans before the year is over?

Another summer migrant that I thought would be well on it's way to Africa was a female wheatear that I spotted in the Goyt Valley yesterday afternoon. Feeding along the side of the dismantled railway line now frequented by dog walkers, it seemed to have little fear of me. Allowing me to get quite close. I was surprised to see a female wheatear still here, but delighted as it is a very pretty bird.

a male Wheatear

I still have to identify those finch-like birds in the Goyt. To be honest it's starting to bug me a little. Their the right colouring for Twite but I think their size is nearer that of corn buntings. There were several small flocks of them moving round the Goyt. I just couldn't get close enough for a proper identification check.

Corn Bunting

There were also the resident red grouse and pheasant. Though they were more silent than normal possibly to avoid detection by the buzzard that was flying low over the heather and grass. It was a wonderful sight to be able to look down on this mini-eagle and watch it from above. As it flew silently over the heather, just a foot or so off the ground. Not a behaviour I've seen them do before. Usually a buzzard is spotted up high in the sky as it sweeps the ground for rabbits.

There were also carrion crows, skylark and meadow pipits on the hillsides as well as mallard on the pond. Again no curlew or lapwing, then again the buzzard could have been a factor there.

The departure dates of our summer migrants (and our winter ones) as well as hangers on is of interest to the avian boffins at the RSPB and the BTO. They do as for volunteers to log such sightings in one of their online surveys. Here's a link to one that I use, BirdTrack.
Birdtrack logo copyright British Trust of Ornithology.
So if you do see something interesting flying around you can help out by logging it at BirdTrack, you don't have to be an expert to do so either.

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