Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Autumn Begins...

The Autumn migration,  ah, that fantastic time of year.  In retrospect, I've never really been able to observe Autumn migration at its full capacity. The sheer number of birds passing can be incredible.  So it was, on Monday I found myself in an awe at the numbers, at the magnitude with which some species were present.
 Arriving at Seaford Head before the sun was fully risen, I was greeted by House Martins.  Thousands and thousands of House Martins.  The sky was full of them, the Sea, the cliffs... everywhere you looked there were House Martins.  It seemed rather an unreal sight to behold.  Three, to four thousand seemed about right.  I imagine I had watched them for at least thirty minutes before I could drag myself away to look at Yellow Wagtails, which were in decent numbers also, although nothing like the House Martins.  Over the day I had a respectable thirty-forty of these stunning yellow(ish) migrants.

Similar numbers of Wheatear were also present, with one field containing over ten.  It was a good field to say the least and, after two hours, some did come rather close.  I recall one surprising moment when a Wheatear ran directly at me and stopped no more than twelve foot away.  There was however, in rather typical fashion, a single blade of grass going across its face.  Here's one from twenty foot instead.

Among all the migrants - Whinchats, Redstart, Willow Warbler, Whitethroats and Swallows - I did make time for some non-avian wildlife. I must be mad.  I suppose it's excusable to be distracted by an Adder though isn't it? Yes, I was lucky enough to find my first ever Adder, basking in a gorse bush by the edge of a path.  Just amazing.  Seeing a wild snake was one of my hopes this summer, I'm sure I can make do with getting it in Autumn though...

Rather a nice way to break into the new season don't you think?

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