Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Westerlies again and again and again

The Autumn migration has a few weeks to run and it has largely been poor in this part of the country. Apart from one brief easterly which did produce some good birds its all been mainly winds from the west. Currently the Gulf Stream is sitting right across Southern Britain and is likely to stay there for the rest of this week at least, so expect strong westerlies and rain. So with very few grounded migrants we are left with the lottery of visible migration. So what has happened to the easterlies that used to blow in the Autumn. I am not looking through rose coloured glasses because a look through my notebooks of fifteen  and twenty odd years ago showed that easterlies and north easterlies did blow in September and October at least in one or more spells, sometimes for weeks. East coast falls though not common did happen quite regularly and if you were lucky enough to be present when this happened it was the most exciting birding you could get. I can still vividly recall falls I have witnessed, a bit like the first time I saw the Grateful Dead live in 1972, totally remarkable. Of course the Grateful Dead are no more, but easterlies are still possible. I presume the change in weather systems is because of climate change and experts predict that the climate will be far more influenced by the Gulf Stream in the future.
This mornings birding was poor, nothing moving overhead, the river was quiet and passerines were almost non-existent. I did record a Little Grebe on the basin, the first sighting of this once common species this year at the site. Teal numbers are gradually increasing moving upto 121 and there were 3 Common Sandpipers and 3 Redshanks on Bow Creek.