Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Vis Migging

 Sunrise over Fluke Street.

 One of the few meadow pipits that actually stopped for a brief rest on the island.

I've been vis migging today. Starting not long after sunrise I headed out to see migration happening before my eyes. I found myself on a stream bed looking up at a flow of meadow pipits all heading south in an incredibly determined way that will take some as far as Africa.  These birds weight only about 18g and yet they were battling into a force 5-6 south-westerly travelling across miles of sea, not even taking a breather but just a bit of shelter at the island and then pressing on for another 8 miles till they would reach Lothian. I stood in Fluke Street first and count birds for 15 mins. as they went through. 113 meadow pipits, 1 swalllow and 5 siskins. I then headed up to the top of the south plateau and counted for another 15 mins. 184 meadow pipits passed with 4 house martins, 1 siskin and 24 starlings mixed in. This river of pipits went on for at 4 hours until drying up by 11.00ish. A bit of extrapolation means that between 2000 and 3000 meadow pipits flew south over the island this morning. And this has been going on for several days. What a way to start the day. Vis migging?  Well it is short for visible migration count.

The other end of the day - sunset watched by 2 island inhabitants.

A huge cable laying ship passes the island tonight lit up like a Christmas tree.

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