“The Stats” (8pm on 26th Oct)

This Week: Totals vs last week vs same week 2020
Total No. of Species  66  ↑ 10  ↑ 2
Total No. of Birds  3,889  ↓ 687  ↓ 364


To October 26th: 2021 vs 2020
Total No. of Species  96  Equal
Total No. of Birds  46,813  ↑ 13,162

South-westerly winds dominated this last week and look set to stay throughout this week too.  While the relatively mild and calm conditions have allowed migration to continue the excitement that an east wind brings has been severely lacking!  Ten more species were recorded from Herts gardens than last week with two new additions for the Autumn Garden Vismig Watch taking the total to 96 species.  This is equal to the total recorded at the same point last year and edges ever closer to the magic 100!

Redwings and Chaffinches continued to

move through with the occasional Brambling, including a flock of 12 over a St Albans garden on 24th.  Black-headed Gulls have also been passing over in good numbers – both early morning and late evening and growing flocks of Jackdaws have been noted as they assemble for their winter roosts.  Siskins and Redpoll numbers have increased with 40 noted from a Shafford Farm garden on 25th and a total of 16 records of Redpolls (presumed Lesser).

A few Meadow Pipits and Skylarks continue to be seen flying over but a surprise was 2 late Swallows over a Gaddesden Row garden on 23rd.  They have a long journey ahead of them and feel somewhat incongruous as Golden Plover and Stonechats are now both being observed from a Shafford Farm garden.  The odd lingering Chiffchaff perhaps provides some sense of continuity.

The week was not without its highlights – a low flying Peregrine graced a St Albans garden on 24th and on the same day a sizeable flock of 21 Cormorants were noted from a Garston garden.  Both gardens then scored big with a long-awaited Hawfinch becoming the 113th species for the St Albans garden on 24th and a flyover group of 5 Wigeon new for the Garston garden – rewards for the early hours put in on many days this autumn.

While the Hawfinch and Wigeon predictions proved correct, Fieldfare are yet to be seen and Woodpigeon migration is not yet evident to any great extent.  News from the coast (and even the Netherlands) suggests a mass of birds are waiting in the wings and must surely arrive very soon.  Chris Ruis of the Herts Bird Club Data Team has taken a look back at Fieldfare records over the last 5 years and what his graphs show is very revealing:













If anyone, like me, is feeling that Fieldfare are very ‘late’ this autumn it turns out that they were just particularly early last year!  If the last few years are anything to go by, we should be seeing the main arrival of these birds this coming week.  Something to look forward to with possibly a second wave of Redwings too.

In the absence of easterly winds, it may be a bit much to hope for a Siberian garden visitor but keep looking.  Many of these birds have arrived and they may make their way through gardens regardless of wind conditions.  Who knows, you might discover something else – a Firecrest maybe or something even rarer…

As always please add your garden sightings to the Googlesheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1q8Xibna0OISTAD5LAcaOC9bX6E2HTHuwXtwojpMzJrw/edit#gid=1901145455