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Summer migrants overlap with winter visitors
THERE has been a trend in recent years for summer migrants to linger in the UK later than previously. This September was no exception with birds like Swallows and House martins still present in high numbers throughout the month and even Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs still in song at the month end.
Not surprisingly, these birds overlapped with the first winter visitors which included Redwings in Northallerton on the early date of 26th and the first Pinkfooted Geese, a skein of 14, over Ainderby Steeple on the 17th. A small passage of Pinkfeet followed these pioneers with up to 200 birds passing along the Hambleton Hills, 50 over Newsham Ponds and 300 over Hutton Magna..
Other signs of migration included exceptionally high numbers of Lesser Blackbacked Gulls in the area with the fields around Ainderby Steeple holding at least 2000 birds and a remarkable count of 3,500 in the roost at Nosterfield.
Perhaps surprisingly, there were no local reports of Yellow-legged Gulls which often associate with Lessers.
Elsewhere large numbers of Meadow Pipits were moving along the Hambleton Hills and through the eastern edge of the dales. One group of bird ringers operating on Barden Moor ringed an astonishing 800 birds in just three days. This coincided with very high numbers passing through Spurn Point on the East Yorkshire coast.
In contrast, there was a rather light movement of waders through the local waters nevertheless this brought some interesting sightings including four Curlew Sandpipers and Little Stint at Nosterfield and, at Newsham Ponds, 13 Ruff, two Spotted Redshank and 11 Green Sandpipers.
Birds of prey were also on the move with Ospreys seen over the Stang and at Richmond, Peregrine near Scruton, Hobbies near Knayton and at Nosterfield, Merlins at Richmond and near Romanby, a young Marsh Harrier in the Hambleton Hills and, pick of the sightings, a Honey Buzzard over Stapleton. Other sightings of note during September included three Black Terns and Twite at Nosterfield.
Looking ahead to October this can be one of the more interesting months for rarer birds. One species to keep a look out for is the Lapland Bunting.
Unprecedented numbers have been seen in the northern isles and on the east coast this autumn. Some of these are now filtering inland with a number of birds reported in west and south Yorkshire. As always, if you stumble across an unusual bird I would love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org.