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Firecrests and Black Redstarts this winter

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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 20:15   #1
dantheman
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Firecrests and Black Redstarts this winter

Have seen very few of the above locally (Falmouth area, Cornwall, UK) this winter. Is this just a localised thing or wider afield I'm wondering? Any ideas why if not just a random thing? V few Bittern reported in Cornwall this winter, but assume that's just a mild winter thing elsewhere (although there have been a few cold snaps) ...

Only seen 1 Black Redstart this winter (normally 4-6), and no Firecrests at all. Not many Goldcrest either, thinking about it. (On the other hand have seen 6 Yellow-browed Warbler since the autumn, and they seem to be increasing hereabouts).

??
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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 20:29   #2
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Although I haven’t done much birding this winter due to being too busy, I did find a Black Redstart in Downderry last week, so there’s at least 2 in the county!!

Haven’t had a Firecrest either, but like I said i’ve not been out much.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 22:59   #3
KenM
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Originally Posted by dantheman View Post
Have seen very few of the above locally (Falmouth area, Cornwall, UK) this winter. Is this just a localised thing or wider afield I'm wondering? Any ideas why if not just a random thing? V few Bittern reported in Cornwall this winter, but assume that's just a mild winter thing elsewhere (although there have been a few cold snaps) ...

Only seen 1 Black Redstart this winter (normally 4-6), and no Firecrests at all. Not many Goldcrest either, thinking about it. (On the other hand have seen 6 Yellow-browed Warbler since the autumn, and they seem to be increasing hereabouts).

??
Regarding Firecrest...total agreement! Just one bird last year (Nov 1st) compared to 12 sightings 2017, 36 in 2016, 51 in 2015, and 2 in 2014. All my records for this period were from my garden and the woods outback, in 2015 all the sightings were from just a few birds, particularly to the garden visiting up to 2-3 times daily (between Jan-mid March and Oct-Dec.only. Had my first grd.Goldcrest for the year today! in the wood outback perhaps a 50% reduction compared to previous Winters. Very few reported on the London Wiki Bird club this Winter. Thus it “ain’t looking too good da-hn the Saufeest iva”
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Old Sunday 17th February 2019, 23:21   #4
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Yes Dan, same in N Wales, been a total of 1 winter Firecrest, and that was only recently. Black Reds been fairly scarce, though a few have eventually filtered through. The autumn was generally crap wasn't it, airflow all wrong, worst autumn for Firecests that i can remmeber, and there were very few Black Reds, YBW's, in fact anything at all. A couple of autumns ago was the best ever for Firecrests, they were everywhere.
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 06:58   #5
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Where Firecrests are concerned, Dan, I suspect it's largely cyclical. Exceptional autumn two years ago; last autumn pretty quiet. However I've got 3 Firecrests wintering on St Agnes which is around average: I've had six or more in the past, but even the exceptional autumn of 2017 only left us with 2-3. One Black Red on here this winter, only the fourth year out of eleven I've had one wintering here. So nothing out of the ordinary here.
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 07:15   #6
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Yes Dan, same in N Wales...the autumn was generally crap wasn't it, airflow all wrong...there were very few YBW's,
I was watching the situation fairly closely with YBW this autumn, as I tend to do. I'm fascinated by the routes they take across the UK and at what point they turn south-west having previously been on a roughly WNW track into Scandinavia. I'm guessing your quiet year in North Wales may be attributed to the very low numbers in the Northern Isles during the normal 'peak' arrival period from mid-Sept to early October? In fact it was a very good year on Scilly for YBW particularly in mid-October. It seemed to me YBW, in general, were entering Britain much further south than usual, with a pretty strong arrival in Norfolk and the south-east around mid-month. The winds were blocking to the north, across Scotland and Northern England.

In other recent years, particularly 2016, when very large numbers of YBW arrived in the Northern Isles and the East Coast , we didn't do so well, relatively speaking, in the south-west. During October that year, high pressure dominated the UK weather and I think the resulting north north-westerly winds across central UK aided the ongoing passage of YBW out through central southern England, rather than pushing them out towards the south-west?

Of course the odd few birds will buck the trend and the situation changes nightly in October, but that was the general gist, I'd say?
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 09:18   #7
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It would be good to hear how Firecrests are doing in the South...ie Hants, Dorset, Sussex and Kent, as there are normally good populations there.

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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 09:55   #8
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One wintering Firecrest, which is well above average.

Two or three wintering Black Redstarts, which is about average.
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 10:08   #9
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In the West Midlands region (Worcs, Warks, Staffs and West Mids county) we have had three Black Redstarts this winter but no Firecrest, which is unusual.
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 11:03   #10
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Back when BTO Birdtrack first came out - what was it ten years ago? - Firecrest was one of the first species I ran to see how it worked. I like watching speeded up graphics to see how these things form patterns on a week by week basis! It's fascinating stuff and almost a dream come true for a migration enthusiast such as myself. But more recently when I've stopped by the site, I haven't been able to work out the format of how it works now, so I'm afraid I've moved rather quickly on to other things that are occupying my attention at the time, i.e. just now, I had a quick minute to see if I could figure out, but I still can't!

Edit: I guess I need to register and I haven't bothered to do so...yet.

Last edited by Britseye : Monday 18th February 2019 at 11:04. Reason: addendum
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 11:44   #11
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I would say it's a fairly average winter here in Jersey for Firecrests - neither notably common nor notably scarce. Perhaps slightly above average for Black Redstarts. Zero YBWs reported, which is the norm, though a Dusky Warbler is overwintering. Above average for Woodcock.
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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 12:01   #12
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Originally Posted by KenM View Post
It would be good to hear how Firecrests are doing in the South...ie Hants, Dorset, Sussex and Kent, as there are normally good populations there.
Here are the totals of Firecrests ringed at Durlston Country Park, Dorset. The vast majority are ringed in late October early November.

Year Totals
2011 6
2012 11
2013 6
2014 5
2015 29
2016 11
2017 27
2018 6

This winter numbers seem low in the county which agrees with the low numbers in autumn 2018 but I have seen several both in Poole and near Dorchester.

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Old Monday 18th February 2019, 12:51   #13
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Here are the totals of Firecrests ringed at Durlston Country Park, Dorset. The vast majority are ringed in late October early November.

Year Totals
2011 6
2012 11
2013 6
2014 5
2015 29
2016 11
2017 27
2018 6

This winter numbers seem low in the county which agrees with the low numbers in autumn 2018 but I have seen several both in Poole and near Dorchester.

Ian
Fascinating Ian!...your highest 2015 count reflects mine for the same year great stuff.
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Old Sunday 24th February 2019, 18:37   #14
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Very few Goldcrests this year in my neck of the woods.
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 05:10   #15
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Very few Goldcrests this year in my neck of the woods.
Same here too!
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 06:19   #16
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Firecrest numbers around Southampton seem fairly high (I saw five yesterday without really trying). We had a couple of Black Redstarts on the local patch at the end of last year, but none since Christmas.
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 08:35   #17
KenM
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Firecrest numbers around Southampton seem fairly high (I saw five yesterday without really trying). We had a couple of Black Redstarts on the local patch at the end of last year, but none since Christmas.
Interesting skatebirder! Hopefully they’ve temporarily contracted to core, and will soon expand out again.

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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 09:08   #18
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Firecrest numbers around Southampton seem fairly high (I saw five yesterday without really trying). We had a couple of Black Redstarts on the local patch at the end of last year, but none since Christmas.
Hi, I'm just north of Southampton, (North Baddesley). Firecrests have noticeably increased in the 12 years I have lived here.
2 or 3 sightings this winter, which is pretty typical for me the last few years (Toothill, and 1 in my garden).
The Woodland around Chilworth Golf course I think has hit double figure territories in the last year or two.

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