Tuesday 6th November

7:15 – 8:45 5˚c Wind: 7 – 14mph WSW 1022hPa

Mainly clear with some low cloud developing. Woodpigeon passage nearly all in first 30 mins. Not as many as last year on the same day (655). Starlings, fieldfares and redwings mainly in groups of 10+ throughout watch. First bramblings (c5) to land, grounded by juv. sparrowhawk. Very late solitary house martin!

VisMig Counts (all SW apart from thrushes which mainly NW)

Woodpigeon – 265

Fieldfare – 63

Redwing – 56

Starling – 90

Chaffinch – 18

Brambling – 12

House martin – 1

Juvenile sparrowhawk and magpies chasing each other around the park..

Peregrines (pair on taller spire) on CCC didn’t seem too bothered by the woodpigeons!..

Woodies flying overhead..

Sunday 7th October – Redwings

7:15 am Temp : 5°c Wind: N 2mph / gusts 6mph 1020.6hPa

Pretty clear with light airs. Little to no visible migration (ostensibly due to lack of head-wind to give any lift), but our first redwings of the Autumn moving in all directions. Looks like they must have ridden in high on north-easterlies overnight, over-flown and have been making their way back, generally eastwards during the morning. Plenty stopping to feed on the holly around Cabot Tower.

Last years redwings arrived on the 14th October – exactly 1 week from now on the same day as 2011’s first big wave of fieldfares.

Next watch will be Friday 12th from 7:15.

Thursday 4th October 2012

6:45 – 10:15 am Temp : 7°c Wind: SW 3mph / gusts 7mph 1005.8hPa

Our first decent count of meadow pipits this Autumn along with the first signs of finches on passage and alba wagtails moving S or SW rather than W. Peregrine pair seen together on the Clifton perches, another seen stooping over Bedminster and a passing early morning great black-backed gull.

Migration Watch

Alba wagtail – 42 (mostly white, largest group 8)

Meadow pipit – 363 (largest group 20)

Swallow – 9

Chaffinch – 96 (mostly between 7:30 – 8:00, largest group 9)

Siskin – 7

Linnet – 1

All birds moving S / SW

Thanks Sam, Alex, Liz, Maddie

Friday 28th September

6:45 – 8:30 am Temp : 11°c Wind: SSW 10mph / gusts 15mph 1011.4hPa

A cloudy and blustery first meeting of the Autumn, with plenty of peregrines and a trickle of passerine passage.

Lots of black-headed gulls moving into town first thing, mainly via Brunel Lock side of New Cut and Floating Harbour. Gorge peregrine on the Wills Tower just before sunrise, then in flight e-chupping and between Clifton Cathedral and Christchurch just after sunrise. Town peregrine pair on Castlemead, then after mobbing by large group of crows (one of which attacked by tiercel) first record of female peregrine perched on the very top of the tower.

Visible Migration

Grey wagtail 1 W

Alba wagtail 11 W

Meadow pipit 26 SW

Swallow 33 S

Lots of local greenfinch movement, with some potentially on passage.

Thanks Sam, Alex, Liz and Brenda

Saturday 29/09/12 7:00-9:00 7°c W 7 / 12mph 1016.7hPa

Saturday morning solo watch very similar to Friday with mips heading SSW and albas WSW. Fewer swallows. Clearer and less blustery.

Meadow pipit – 49 SW / SSW (largest group 15)

Alba wagtail – 24 W/WSW (1s & 2s then group of 14)

Swallow – 9 S

House martin – 4 S

group of 15 passage finch sp. distant moving west

8:15 60+ carrion crows on Castlemead

8:30 9 crows mobbing peregrine on Clifton Cathedral

Friday 4th and Sunday 6th November

Since the first big influx of thrushes in mid-October, things have slowed down a little – largely due to the weather remaining pretty mild and stable over the UK and the continent.

Although quiet, the autumn migration has steadily continued with groups of passerines passing over Cabot Tower most mornings, and a few new species have been added to the list including brambling and reed bunting.

This weekend looked like the first window for a while, with high pressure building over the UK and Scandinavia, northerly winds over the North Sea and a cold front moving down from the Arctic into eastern Europe.

To make the most of the conditions, we arranged 2 watches on the mornings of Friday 4th and Sunday 6th, both of which had comparatively quite different results – Sunday was definitely woodpigeon day!

Friday 4th Nov 7:00 – 8:45 11°C SSW 3-8mph (all S / SW unless stated otherwise)

Fieldfare – 147

Redwing – 10

Chaffinch – 44

Goldfinch – 18

Meadow pipit – 8 (first for over a week)

Siskin – 2

Linnet – 2

Pied wagtail – 3

Starling – 15

Woodpigeon – 67 (including single group of 55 SW)

Thrush sp. – 18

Finch sp. – 10

Sunday 6th Nov 7:30 – 9:30 6°C  NNE 8-14mph p1021.8hPa

Woodpigeon – 655 all SW

siskin and skylark heard going over high roughly SE

The woodies were mainly passing to the north-west, with some large groups moving south-west down the Severn that were too distant to count without a scope.

Local redwing, fieldfare, mistle thrush and blackbird numbers all much higher than usual, but no significant directional movement – assume that many have arrived overnight.

Cabot Tower BSG Launch

Sunday morning (2nd Oct) was our first official visible migration watch from Cabot Tower. In between the introductions, pictures, interviews and general chit-chat, we managed to get in a bit of birding and had some good sightings of migrant passerines (often flying right past us at eye-level) heading south over Bristol.

9 of us, including myself, Ed Drewitt and David Lindo (The Urban Birder) were in attendance. We weren’t expecting any significant movement after the extended spell of good weather, light winds, lack of cloud and average visibility – but we had lots more finch movement than previously (including our first siskins and larger groups of migrant chaffinches), plenty of pied / white wagtails (but fewer grey wags) and as usual, a patchy but consistent stream of meadow pipits.

The session lasted c2hrs from 6:45, but all counts are conservative, due to a general lack of vigilance by myself whilst discussing the project etc. during the inaugural session. All movement generally south unless stated otherwise:

meadow pipit – 130 (at least with largest group of 30)

pied / white wagtail – 61

chaffinch – 52 (largest group 15)

siskin – c30 (largest group 8)

goldfinch – 32

A few other bits moving south including a couple of starlings, collared doves and greenfinch, but no significant numbers. No hirundines.

Other sightings (non-migrants) were 8 ravens close by, with a few distant groups of 2 or 3 to the north-west, a pair of adult peregrine (possibly Gorge pair due to size of female) on Clifton Catholic Cathedral and an extremely close sighting of a sparrowhawk flying directly towards the tower, lit from underneath by the early morning sun.

A few pictures by Edward Felton and Tina Smith and a soundbite from Ed Drewitt below (please follow link if soundcloud media player does not display properly)..

Cabot Tower Bird Study Migration Watch Launch with Ed Drewitt:

http://soundcloud.com/eddrewitt/cabot-tower-bird-study

The next session will be in the coming week depending on the weather and planned Tower 42 meetings, and we are hoping for higher numbers of finches and our first redwings of the autumn.

Thanks to Ed D, Ed F, David, Tina, Alex, Liz A, Liz S and Pete for making it not only a success but plenty of fun too.

Sam Hobson

Official launch this Sunday 2nd October with The Urban Birder

David Lindo – The Urban Birder, will be visiting Bristol this weekend to help launch the first official Cabot Tower Bird Study Group urban visible migration and raptor watch session. The session will be c.3 hrs, depending on conditions, kicking off at 6:45.

We are hoping to count meadow pipit and other passage migrants moving south over Bristol and will also be watching for raptors over the city.

We have had mixed results during the preliminary sessions in the last week, with highlights being lots of meadow pipit movement, migrating grey and pied wagtails, a few hirundines (although plenty on Saturday 24th moving down the Avon Gorge to the west), large groups of ravens and plenty of peregrine and sparrowhawk action. This morning, during an hour long watch from 9-10 am, 40 meadow pipits went over, a charm of 40 goldfinch, then 30 mixed gold and greenfinch landed at Brandon Hill, and just as the sun came out at 10 o’clock, a sparrowhawk flew only metres above CT and a buzzard passed over Clifton Triangle, heading into town.

Lots happening at the moment – hopefully luck will be with with us on Sunday!