Wednesday, November 05, 2014

What a load of Bull

Back in Birmingham again for the winter, so decided to head out early this morning after a bit of talk online about the weather looking good for Wood Pigeon movement.

Went to to the Lickey Hills, Worcestershire and stood on Beacon Hill, facing north west. It was pretty foggy on arrival but it started to clear almost straight away. A few thrushes started to move west and then at 07:50 the Wood Pigeons started, I wasn't expecting the crazy numbers that they get at the well known sites and to be honest was really pleased when the first flocks started going over! Got really excited when a flock of 50 were going over at the same time as a 280 in the first couple minutes of them starting to move! It evened out from here on in but was still cool to see flocks of Wood Pigeon streaming over! Had 2 Feral Pigeon in with the Wood Pigeons, is this normal? Presume they just get caught up with them, never heard anyone mention them before (maybe because its Feral Pigeons....)

By 09:30 it had all but finished, final totals being

Wood Pigeon 2,223 (S)
Stock Dove 3 (S) doubtless overlooked
Fieldfare 68 (S/W)
Redwing 77 (S/W) 50 dropped in
Mistle Thrush 2 (S)
Starling 61 (W)
alba wagtail 3 (S)
Chaffinch 17 (S/W)
Great BB Gull 1 1w (W)

Also had several parties of Bullfinch, that seemed to be moving through going south, being pretty high and flying in non direct southerly direction, whether or not they actually moved south, they definitely seemed to be wanting to go somewhere!

I didn't get a sound recording of the first 2, but did of the next 4 and then 7. I'd looked at trying to tell europoea from pileata last winter at Upton Warren here so thought it would be interesting to have a look at the sound recordings from today as the birds seemed to be on the move, maybe they would be europoea?

I stuck them into Audacity and with a bit of playing around came up with these Sonograms

The party of 2 are the top recordings and the 7 are the bottom recordings. Hopefully they come out big enough for the difference to be obvious. The top calls are smooth and slowly downsloping and the bottom calls and more varied. 

From a quick bit of research it would seem to suggest that the top calls from the 2 are pileata and the bottom calls from the flock of 7 are europoea!

This blogpost also shows the calls of europoea recorded in Norfolk

Any feedback would be appreciated from anyone who knows about these calls etc. 

Have europoea ever been recorded in Worcestershire before? I'd guess not but seen as you have to make recordings and sonograms to even come close to proving them, will anyone have bothered?!