An early start at Druridge this morning, making the most of the calmer conditions before the gale force winds arrived.
Walking along the road, it was soon evident that there were a lot of birds on the move. Linnets were the most obvious at first, with small parties moving south, hardly any of them stopping to feed, a few goldfinches among them too. Then a group of 12 lesser redpolls moved through, stopping briefly in the bushes.A couple of grey wagtails, my first of 2011, flew south, calling as they went.
There were also lots of hirundines and pipits moving through, along the dunes and over the bushes. I climbed to the top of the highest dune to give myself a good vantage point. I sat there for two and a half hours, just watching the spectacle of visible migration.
I always struggle to count such large numbers of birds on the move, the same with sea-watching unless I keep a tally. Swallows were the most numerous and I estimated about 350-400 per hour, then probably 150/hour house martins and less again of sand martin. I reckoned on about 100-150/hour for meadow pipits.
Throughout the morning small parties of linnet flew south and few goldfinches (but these could have been local birds?). I also had three more grey wagtails, a collared dove, three skylarks and a merlin.
There were also a LOT of racing pigeons, mainly headed south, they were just clearing the top of the dune, so close I got a couple of gliffs.
Also of note this morning was a male marsh harrier and about 360 canada geese on the stubble fields, moved on by a man with a gun, they dispersed into smaller parties.
154 grey wagtail
155 lesser redpoll