Chairman’s blog – Mass autumn immigration?

It seems as if we might be being over-run with millions of migrants this autumn. A few weeks ago huge falls of winter thrushes were noted on the east coast – and there was also a large influx of jays. Now waxwings have been seen in quite large numbers, and have already been found in all four corners of the country.
The main driving force for higher-than-usual numbers of winter visitors is usually lack of food in other places. From what I understand, this is certainly the case where jays are concerned, and it is presumably true for the thrushes and certainly the waxwings. Adverse weather can cause movements for some species, but it seems unlikely so early in the winter.
The influx of jays was commented on by several non-birding friends of mine, who had noticed the birds around. The questioned whether they had had a particularly successful breeding season. From what people have said, the birds seem to be commuting between feeding and food caching areas – they have certainly been seen on making regular flights on the same routes. One even flashed through my garden a few days ago – the first in my 23 years here.
Fieldfares and redwings have also been very noticeable in our area – which handily coincides with the BTO survey of winter thrushes. I am told that the on-line submission form is not as straightforward as it might be – but don’t let that stop you doing the survey if you can. Worry about data entry later!
And so to waxwings – berries are rather widely scattered, and these birds could turn up anywhere. There are many berry-laden hedgerows in the North Cotswolds, so it is a good time to be out birdwatching in the area. And when there is a good reason to go out, it is usually a spur to find something else of interest.


I refuse to talk about mists and stuff. Instead, go over the site and see what’s in store this month. This includes a walk in the Fairford/Quenington area; an informal gathering to discuss population trends in our region; and a plea to those birding near water to keep an eye open for colour ringed Canada Geese.