The unsound approach

East Coast Thrush movement 27th October 2009

Update 11th November

Peter Adriaens sent us a link showing the movement on Belgian radar which makes for spectacular viewing. The final tally Europe-wide tally for Fieldfare that day came to a staggering 171999 individuals


 Having ear-marked the 27th as a potentially interesting day I kept tabs on Norfolk weather stations the preceeding evening: just before the start of Life at 2100, the wind was a light NW and just after 2200 it was a light SE with 'grey cloud'. Surely there had to be a fall of drift migrants at some point in autumn 2009? Having failed to see the likes of Pied Fly and Tree Pipit all autumn (despite finding 2 RBFs!) I was hoping that these charts (below) and this penultimate 'throw of the dice' might deliver.

Deliver it did, but 'only' a spectacular arrival of thrushes, with virtually no other classic late October migrants associated with the movement - where were the Goldcrests, 'eared' owls and Woodcock? Either way, it was really amazing to be in amongst it.... More Blackbirds were grounded than the other thrushes with many individuals dropping out of mixed  thrush aggregations and refusing to cross the Marsh at Wells or the Harbour at Blakeney. Several Merlins hunting across both probably gave good reason.

above, and below: groups of Fieldfares dropping into the Pines on Hills (AL)

part of a large mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings

the only Ouzel on the deck on Hills

Fieldfares and Redwings over Near Point

Fieldfares and Redwings over the Lupins

One of two skulking Ouzel at the Hood

above and below: one of two Ouzels near Near Point

thrushes heading over the chalets

Data from Trektellen: 71,679 Fieldfare in a day in Holland... 13,955 were counted over Flamborough, with 8000 at Sunk Island 3,582 at Holme. Clearly a broad-scale East Coast movement, and not a localised event. Hundreds of thousands of Fieldfares must have been involved but was this more drift or more the en-masse arrival of British wintering birds?