Autumn birding

by Mark Cureton |
Published on

We’re getting some fine autumn weather now, and we’re seeing all sorts of bird movements going on. Some of them involve scarcer birds, others involve summer visitors leaving the UK for warmer climes, to be replaced by winter visitors, such as Pink-footed Geese, arriving from the far north.

John Birkett, of RSPB Croydon Local Group, picked up on some of these changes, and highlighted one phenomenon in particular.

“Seeing the berries and other fruits on bushes and trees is a reminder we are now into autumn. I predicted Chiffchaffs turning up in gardens during September, and in fact this year several seemed to be hanging around in several gardens over a week into October.

“The mists in early October heralded some of our winter migrants, too. Over a couple of mornings I was able to see my first flock of 25 Redwings over the garden and heard Sky Lark, Meadow Pipit and Siskin flying over. These seem to have been part of more general arrivals of these species, as well as Brambling and redpolls, into the Surrey area.

“Jays have also been seen in good numbers in early October. They are well-known for collecting acorns and burying them as a food source for later in the winter. This year they will have a problem, or have to change their diet: unlike the berries, acorns have been in very short supply. Apparently, this was predicted back in early June, as oak trees are wind pollinated and the wet weather in spring was likely to adversely affect this.”

Have you noticed a lot of Jays where you are? Or a shortage of acorns? Or a shortage of Jays?

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