“The Stats” (8pm on 14th)

This Week Totals

 vs Last Week

vs same week 2020
Total No. Species  61  ↓ 13  ↓ 6
Total No. Birds  3,923  ↓ 2,829  ↓ 2,501


To September 14th

2021 vs 2020
Total No. Species  77  ↑ 7
Total No. Birds  10.933  ↓ 1,653

A quieter week with a low-pressure weather system taking over bringing a damper, more south-westerly wind direction for a period.  Just 61 species were recorded from gardens during the week by 15 observers with overall numbers of birds significantly down.  While this may reflect observers pacing themselves for the long haul (!) it also reflects a quieter week in the county with fewer birds on the move.

However, garden vismig sessions did

continue to produce records of birds on the move with around 200 Swallows and a single Sand Martin noted.  House Martins were also on the move but with many still loitering at nearby nesting sites.  The Yellow Wagtail passage of the previous week tailed-off but Pied and Grey Wagtails continue to be recorded with numbers likely to increase in the coming weeks.

Sadly, we may have finally said goodbye to the summer Swifts though a late sighting is always possible:   just 3 recorded on 8th and a final bird on 10th.  Their nemesis, Hobbies, remain on to chase the departing hirundines.  As predicted, Meadow Pipits began to arrive with a peak count of 11 on 12th but many more are surely on their way.  Siskins and Redpolls have yet to materialise, but Chaffinches continued to be more evident overhead along with increased numbers of Linnets.

Once again, the week was not without its highlights with a flyover Osprey recorded from a garden in Wormley on 10th and a Rock Pipit picked up by sharp ears over a Hemel Hempstead garden on 12th.  A change in wind direction back to east on 13th perhaps accounted for 11 Golden Plovers heading north over a St Albans garden at first light.  Golden Plovers are a likely flyover candidate in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled.

Looking ahead all the possibilities remain open and though we may not find a Green Warbler, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers continue to move through gardens, often silently.  Flycatchers are still very much a possibility and the sky’s the limit – literally – when it comes to vismig!  Not everything is uncommon and at this time of year birds that you’d normally expect to see in the garden may on occasion be seen flying over gardens at great height – Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Bullfinches among them.

A ‘top tip’ if you find yourself scanning the skies with binoculars is to find a plane to focus on.  Often skyscapes are featureless and the eye struggles to focus and pick out birds.  Focusing on something like a plane helps set the binoculars right and anything moving in your field of view becomes easier to see.  It’s not magic but I have often picked out birds traversing the sky thanks to that technique – most recently a stream of Swallows out of range to the naked eye.

Patience is key with garden vismig and last year’s tally of just under 100 different species is testament to the variety on offer to Herts gardens at this time of year.  Keep looking and you’ll be rewarded!

If you’re not taking part yet why not sign up – enter your sightings as often or as little as you wish on the Googlesheet.