OCTOBER 2010 BIRD NOTES
October Highlights: Whooper Swan, Red Kite, Osprey, Firecrest and Great Grey Shrike.
Following September’s near record month, this month has matched the biggest October ever with some quality birds among the 109 species recorded, and November is looking good with a Bearded Tit on its first day. The formal Wildfowl Count on 17th included: 47 Little Grebe, 49 Great Crested Grebe, 27 Mute Swans, 781 Wigeon, 38 Gadwall, 89 Teal, 103 Mallard, 91 Pochard, 741 Tufted Duck and 972 Coot. Seven Whooper Swans were near the dam at 0800hrs on 22nd and 3 flew south on 28th. Pink-footed Geese movements included 300 west at 1440hrs on 11th, 45 on 13th and 46 west at 1730hrs on 30th. Other wildfowl maximum counts were 61 Great Crested Grebe on 28th, 62 Cormorant on 6th, 26 Barnacle Geese on 30th, 5 Shelduck on 12th, 5 Pintail on 28th, 7 Shoveler on 19th, 2 Red-crested Pochard on 21st, 4 Common Scoter on 25th, 4 Goldeneye on 25th and 17 Goosander on 28th.
Raptors included a Red Kite drifting below the dam at 1015hrs on 19th, a male Goshawk in the wood in Tail Bay on 16th, 2 Sparrow Hawk on 11th and 19th, 8 Buzzard on 4th, a late Osprey on 2nd, a Merlin on 5th and 18th and Peregrine on several dates. A hunting male Sparrow Hawk flew through the open door of the Wildlife Centre at 0930hrs on 27th. He was quickly caught and released outside before he sustained any damage from his attempted exit through closed windows.
A good range of wader sightings included 2 Ringed Plover on Stones Island up to 6th, 17 Golden Plover on Stones Island on 23rd, 2 Grey Plover flying over calling on 3rd, 182 Lapwing on 17th, 1 Knot flying north on 10th, 6 Dunlin on 5th, 2 Snipe at the Wildlife Centre on 4th, a Woodcock on 27th, 1 Curlew on 22nd, a Redshank from 27th, a Common Sandpiper attacked by a Sparrow Hawk on 6th and a Turnstone on Stones Island from 1705hrs on 14th.
The Gull Roost held an adult Mediterranean Gull from 16th, a second winter Little Gull on 12th, 4000 Black-headed Gull and 3500 Lesser Black-backed Gull with one showing characteristics of ‘Fuscus’ on 28th, a site record 20 Yellow-legged Gull and a Caspian Gull on 16th and 3 Great Black-backed Gull on 20th.
Autumn movement brought a few surprises this year and included 13 Skylark over on 27th, 2 late Swallow on 18th, big numbers of Meadow Pipit with 80 on 28th, 3 Rock Pipit on 5th and lesser numbers on other dates, a White Wagtail on 9th, 1 Fieldfare on 19th and 30 on 27th, 50 Redwing on 10th and 23rd and 4 Chiffchaff on 6th. A Firecrest was found on Stones Island at 1730hrs on 14th and was calling until 1800hrs. At this time of year many firecrests move south, mostly down the east and south coasts. There have been two previous records of this species during 1996 (see annual report for details) and 1997. A week later and a Great Grey Shrike was observed from the Wildlife Centre at 1500hrs on 21st. The bird was on top of the large ash tree to the right of Shiningford Farm for 5 minutes before flying into the wooded creek and lost to sight. This is the third record of the species at Carsington; the second stayed for 5 months and was last seen in April 2005. The first autumn Brambling was on Stones Island on 17th, 20 Siskin were near the Sailing Club on 4th, 8 Linnet and a Lesser Redpoll on 4th and a Yellowhammer flew over on 16th.
109 species recorded this October compared with 108 in 2009, 94 in 2008, 109 in 2007, 99 in 2006, 99 in 2005, 91 in 2004, 94 in 2003 and 103 in 2002.