Changing of the Seasons.

08th September 2017
The weather is definitely changing, you can feel a slight chill in the air in the mornings lately, this is not a bad thing from an ornithological point of view. Birds sense this changing of the seasons and it encourages them to move, migrating to more suitable climates. The Wryneck passage has already started with a good number of birds sighted on the south coast of the UK. These enigmatic birds also move down the west coast of the UK in September and sometimes if there is a big westerly ‘blow’ they can be seen in-land seeking shelter.

We hardly ever see them in the Beacons though and that is a shame because they are one of my favourite birds. Also at this time of year Dotterel, another favourite of mine are heading back south after breeding up north and they can turn up on the Beacons at this time of year.

We always have a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in our front garden this time of year and this year has been no exception. I don’t know why this happens but I’m not complaining. Bullfinches and Redstarts again bred in the garden but the two young Redstarts that were around the house have now disappeared, I hope they have a safe journey.
However, my thoughts always turn to Norfolk at this time of year because it can be a very exciting time birding there if the winds blow from the north east, in these wind conditions anything can turn up and I have had many memorable birding days there in the autumn over the last thirty years-
Long Eared Owls,

Short Eared Owls

and Hen Harriers all coming in off the sea. Two thousand Goldcrests landed on the north coast one weekend, totally exhausted feeding on grass seed along the beaches. Warblers dripping off the trees, Pallas's, Dusky, Raddes, Barred, Yellow Browed, Humes, Artic, Greenish etc etc. Unfortunately though this year I can’t make my autumn pilgrimage there because I have other plans of which I am quite excited about.
This summer in the UK, birding has had a distinctly Mediterranean feel about it, with Little Bitterns,

Cattle Egrets, Squacco Herons,

Bee Eaters,

Red Footed Falcons

and the now ‘common place’ Great White Egret, how quickly we become blasé about birds that were not so long ago a ‘Twitch’. These birds exemplify a visible shift northwards of many species as our climate grows milder and wetter.
Conversely will birds like Ring Ouzel start breeding further north?

Will birds like Brambling, Fieldfare and Redwing come as far south as in previous years? These are changing times for many species and it will be interesting to see how they adapt.
Locally it has been the usual quiet late summer for birds and my interests have turned to insects, Butterflies and Dragonflies in particular and they are very fascinating but now autumn is virtually upon us and hopefully there will be more birds around. There was a report of a Juvenile Marsh Harrier with green wing tags around a local reed bed this week, (Llangors Lake) and yesterday morning I went out early to try and see it because they don’t come around here too often. I had been waiting for over two hours with nothing much seen except two fly-by Hobbies and I was on the brink of leaving when suddenly it appeared, as usual from nowhere. Luckily I had my little Sigma contemporary lens waiting on a bean-bag and I was able to get a few quick record shots before it disappeared from view. This bird, however, was a different bird, no wing tags and another Juvenile, so we now have two Marsh Harriers locally which is very good for this area. Let’s hope they over-winter and give some more photographic opportunities.