November 2017 Project:   Migrant Winter Birds

November is the month when we should see our winter bird migrants, and there’s lots to look out for.

Winter thrushes are the obvious ones – Fieldfares and Redwings, but checkout the chaffinches as there could well be a Brambling around.  Don’t rule out Waxwings putting in an appearance either.

Wintering wildfowl are also coming our way.  Look out for Pink Footed Geese, if not on the ground then look / listen for the large skeins that fly overhead. Whooper Swans are also arriving from their breeding grounds in Iceland, and several are seen on Hollingworth Lake most years. Look out for their long wedge shaped bill, largely yellow with a black tip.  If you’re lucky you could spot a Barnacle Goose or even a Bewick’s Swan (smaller yellow area on bill – hard to distinguish from a Whooper if it is a lone bird)

Also look out for Eurasian Wigeon, Goldeneye, Pintail, and possibly even Smew on lakes, reservoirs and near the coast.

And check the numbers of Blackbirds in your garden: we usually get an influx from the near continent in winter, especially if the conditions on the continent are severe. Other breeding birds that increase their populations with winter arrivals include Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler and Pochard,

We’ve had a period of strong southerly, south western or west winds for a few weeks now, which will have probably reduced migrating numbers, so watch the weather forecast for a return to northern / easterly winds and see what comes in.