SEPTEMBER TO-DO LIST
Autumn migration is in full swing, so there are plenty of opportunities to add new birds to your list.
Catch up with the passage migrants you missed out on in the spring, as they make their return journeys south. Make a list of targets, and learning juvenile plumages will help a lot, too.
Learn some flight calls, and try a morning’s visible migration watching. This can be a great way to pick up species such as Wood Lark, or Whinchat.
Skuas migrate across land at this time of year, typically flying up estuaries, then ascending to great heights to make the crossing, before descending again to join an estuary on the other side of the country. The Wash-severn Estuary and Firth of Forth-solway Firth are two known routes. Even if you can’t get to the estuaries to watch for them, keep an eye out during bad weather, when they may be forced to make their cross-country journey at lower altitude.
Keep an eye on the weather – mid-september often gets gales and storms, which can drive seabirds such as Leach’s Petrels inland or close inshore (they’re typically found along the west coast, and especially in the Mersey and Dee estuaries), as well as grounding passerine migrants.