Friday, 8 October 2010

The feather forecast

Conditions are looking good for migration in London over the weekend and beyond, with easterlies with cloud tonight and gently strengthening winds (check the BBC's 24-hour and five-day forecasts here). The airstream has its origins to the east of Europe, which is always a plus. No rain is forecast so major falls seem unlikely, but there may be fog, especially along the river valleys.

Friday 8 October 2010 © BBC
Any 'viz miggers' hoping for diurnal migration could have some success as visibility improves, while warmer afternoon skies may see continuing raptor passage (with Montagu's Harrier logged through Rainham this week prospects may be good).

Diary date: there will be nationally co-ordinated viz-mig counts in a fortnight's time, on the weekend of 23-24 October, and plans are already afoot in the London Area for watches at different sites on both the Saturday and Sunday - for more information watch for updates on http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/londonbirders/.

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Updated 9 October from 12:30 hrs:

Did the forecast live up to expectations? In most ways, yes - check the Twitter feed on this blog and you'll see that interesting migrants so far today in London include six White-fronted Geese and a Lapland Bunting, while Redwings are on the move at a number of sites (including up to 100 at Rainham Marshes by mid-morning).


I went to Rainham myself earlier this morning to test the weather theory, and the forecast certainly delivered there - as well as thrushes and Chaffinches clearly moving through, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and two Goldcrests (rare as hens' teeth at the site this year) were all present and new patch-ticks for 2010, while the Redwings were also my first of the autumn anywhere in Britain.

By 14:00 hrs, further weather-related movements were reported from the Thames, with 17 Brent Geese on the river at Rainham for 25 minutes being the highlight before they flew off downstream, but also a noteworthy Red-breasted Merganser and four Sandwich Terns through Crossness.

Goldcrest at Rainham today (note the unusual ear extensions).

Rainham patch-list 2010 update:
149. Lesser Redpoll.
150. Siskin.
151. Goldcrest.

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