Birdwatch: Arrival of a new season’s species

A redwing feeding on hawthorn berries. Picture by Les Cornthwaite.
A redwing feeding on hawthorn berries. Picture by Les Cornthwaite.
Have your say

The winter birds have started to arrive in large numbers along the Yorkshire coast and are already moving inland.

Redwings, pictured, with a bold creamy stripe above each eye and crimson patches under their wings are making the crossing from Scandinavia while some move down from Iceland.

They will gather at first in coastal hawthorn hedges to feed on the berries before travelling further inland, flying off at the least disturbance.

While feeding they have a soft clucking call but in flight have another call, a thin high pitched note that can be heard overhead during the night from migrating flocks.

Fieldfares have also been arriving, so far in small numbers as the majority will remain in Scandinavia until the berry crop there is exhausted before making the North Sea crossing.

The redwings and fieldfares have been accompanied by large numbers of blackbirds, song thrushes and some ring ouzels while other migrants have included bramblings and robins.

Another annual arrival at this time of year, the jack snipe has also been reported with seven in the Spurn area on Sunday and they too will soon start to be seen at inland sites although they can be difficult birds to observe clearly.

They are smaller than common snipe with a shorter beak, a striped brown back and two light stripes on the side of the head– the common snipe has one broad stripe on each side of the head plus a third thin stripe along the crown.

There has been yet another good arrival of yellow-browed warblers with 36 in the Flamborough area on Sunday and another 26 at Spurn while several red-breasted flycatchers were also reported.

A tallow-browed warbler continued to be seen with a roaming tit flock along the River Aire at the St Aidan’s site, Leeds while another was heard in Pontefract. Spurn had its fourth Arctic warbler of the autumn, trapped and ringed and still present in Kilnsea churchyard this week while other sightings included a barred warbler, olive-backed pipit, hawfinch and a parrot crossbill seen and heard in flight over the Warren.

Another hawfinch was trapped and ringed at Flamborough. A Slavonian grebe remained on the Kilnsea wetland, while a rose coloured starling was still along the Hull road at Easington and a juvenile red-backed shrike still near Easington cemetery.

Great grey shrikes were seen at the Driftwood camp site, Kilnsea and at Sammy’s Point on the Humber.

Other arriving migrants included the first woodcocks of the autumn and several short-eared owls.

Thousands more pink-footed geese have been moving across the region while 54 barnacle geese were seen on the Humber at Spurn and four at Flamborough. There were the first whooper swans moving along the coast on their way back from breeding sites in Iceland with four at Blacktoft Sands.