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Birds and Weather - 2018

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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 13:52   #301
Britseye
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Graham

I am not sure whether we would have got those birds. I remain intrigued by the differences in species mix between the Azores and Britain & Ireland and even Iceland.

Is it about different physiological abilities of the species to react to weather patterns?

Is it about different physiological abilities of the species to withstand longer vagrancy?

Is it about their distributions and the differing nature of systems that hit the Azores compared to Britain & Ireland?

It seems predicting Azorean vagrancy is getting far more precise than predicting British & Irish vagrancy.

Is it because such systems are far more frequent?

All the best
Yes, we would have got some of those birds; albeit in much smaller numbers (perhaps less than a fifth, but that's still enough to satisfy)

I bang on about Elkin's paper a lot. It might require 2-3 reads, but I think you might find some help in answering one or two of the above questions, particularly relating to distribution patterns and the split between what he regards as 'northern' species and 'southern' species. It's why I remain fairly convinced the Catbird came off Michael yet my Grey-cheeked Thrush presumably came off a system originating much further north.

As for predicting B and I vagrancy, perhaps you missed some of my and my friends' 'successes' of the past couple of years? Warm fronts, warm fronts, warm fronts. Yes, there are failures, including quite recently 'Storm Callum'; I believe that was because of the extreme high levels of precipitation involved.

The fact remains the Azores is that much closer to the American continent and the death rate of disoriented passerines must increase considerably with every extra kilometre in the final 24 hours of the journey. I happened to be looking on Google maps this morning and I am reminded that they have a rather larger catchment area than Scilly. which in itself is somewhat geographically blessed (when it comes to east-west vagrancy and the potential for occasionally exciting viz mig).

All speculation, of course, but down here we regard Michael as an unfortunate near-miss. Because of those pesky blocking high pressures that have become such a feature in recent years, we might have to wait a long long time for something with the same amount of potential coming this way again. See Pete Brash's comments above regarding the situation seventy-two hours prior to the system's last-minute change of direction.

Never mind, a Rosy Starling has just turned up five minutes walk from the house. Who needs stripes and colours when there's one of them lurking about on your patch. (Insert tongue in cheek emoji here)
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 14:01   #302
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Yes, we would have got some of those birds; albeit in much smaller numbers (perhaps less than a fifth, but that's still enough to satisfy)
I think that was my inarticulate point. We would have got some of the vagrancy but which of those species would we have got and why those ones? I doubt we would have got White-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-pewee and Lincoln's Sparrow for instance.

I will give Elkins paper a(nother) bash. I am sure that I have read it before. It may indeed contain the answers for the stark differences between the Azorean species mix and the British & Irish species mix and I failed to pick that up.

Have fun with the Rosy Starling. I found myself twitching a juvenile locally this autumn despite seeing a thousand or so in Georgia in the spring. I still cannot work out why.

All the best
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 14:23   #303
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I doubt we would have got White-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-pewee and Lincoln's Sparrow for instance.
Agreed.

But I would have loved to have had the chance... I can still close my eyes and hear Indigo Buntings flying over in my head fifteen years since I last heard one. Savannah Sparrows too...

Physiology? I think it is likely to be a large contributing factor. Population size too? Probably one of several reasons why we haven't seen a Connecticut this side of the Atlantic...yet.

UPDATE Missed the Pastor by thirty seconds as I had to get back to take my bread out the oven. Could have a long vigil ahead of me this afternoon if I want to see it by nightfall!
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 14:41   #304
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Graham

I have downloaded the attached three Elkins papers for further reading during the week subject to the more preferable alternative of a vagrant to twitch.

All the best

Paul
Attached Files
File Type: pdf V72_N09_P417_433_A106.pdf (413.8 KB, 26 views)
File Type: pdf V81_N10_P484_491_A128.pdf (291.1 KB, 17 views)
File Type: pdf V101_N9_2_21.pdf (13.68 MB, 18 views)
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 15:03   #305
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Shame you can't get them as audio books, Paul, then you can do both!
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 15:32   #306
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Yep, Sooty Shear still possible; also, look out for Little Auk
I must say that I am fascinated by the fact that Little Auk indeed is on the Polish list. Sadly, unlike the Czech RC, the Polish one doesn't have a handy overview of numbers for rarities so I have no idea how many times it has actually appeared (since even the "normal" Auks are quite rare here).
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 17:34   #307
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I must say that I am fascinated by the fact that Little Auk indeed is on the Polish list. Sadly, unlike the Czech RC, the Polish one doesn't have a handy overview of numbers for rarities so I have no idea how many times it has actually appeared (since even the "normal" Auks are quite rare here).
Hope you get lucky!
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 18:34   #308
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I’m of the Callum catbird persuasion. A catbird reaching here will be one from the north I imagine, northern populations being more migratory and possibly with that, having physiological features making them more able to do the long crossing. Of course there is the possibility that it’s a northern bird that’s been caught up in Michael when refuelling in Florida.

I don’t think there’s much that turns up on the Azores that couldn’t get here on the right system, especially a good strong late August/early September low.
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 19:20   #309
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My support for Michael as the Catbird's catapult is based partly on a correlation between a rather rare weather event (PRBrash in litt) producing an exceptionally rare bird. We might have to read Nisbet 1963 to understand the proposed mechanism of 'reversed migration' leading to displacement of 'more southerly-distributed species' hinted at by Elkins above. I can't right now, cos I'm off to the pub. I think I've looked in the index of my BBi before and been unable to find it. A quick look at the Cape Clear Catbird of November 1986 fails to reveal the synoptic conditions at the time, though it does note a Chimney Swift (which I saw) turned up on Scilly next day.

At its closest juncture, just before it turned south, at midnight on the day the Catbird was found, remnants of Michael were more or less directly in line with the tip of south-west Ireland heading towards the Bay of Biscay. Sixteen hours later the bird was found and half an hour after that a Bobolink flew over St Mary's. As noted earlier, the rainfall and poor visibility associated with Callum was so heavy and so prolonged, I couldn't see Tresco a mile across the water, for at least thirty-six hours.

If only dear old Frank Muir were still alive to hold up his cards at the end of this discussion and reveal whether true or bluff.
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Old Sunday 21st October 2018, 20:12   #310
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I’m of the Callum catbird persuasion. A catbird reaching here will be one from the north I imagine, northern populations being more migratory and possibly with that, having physiological features making them more able to do the long crossing. Of course there is the possibility that it’s a northern bird that’s been caught up in Michael when refuelling in Florida.

I don’t think there’s much that couldn’t get here on the right system.
Since the kingbird in Ireland I am not willing to entertain theories that propose that some birds are capable of crossing the Atlantic with weather assistance and some, not.

I've fixed your last sentence for you.

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Old Yesterday, 08:30   #311
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Yes, the Polish Baltic coast & neighbouring states should be good for sea-watching Tues & Weds - but as this storm drifts SE don't forget to look for passerines in the aftermath
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Old Yesterday, 14:56   #312
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*Snip*A quick look at the Cape Clear Catbird of November 1986 fails to reveal the synoptic conditions at the time, though it does note a Chimney Swift (which I saw) turned up on Scilly next day.

*Snip*
There is an archive of charts here:

https://www.netweather.tv/charts-and-data/gfs-archive

Looking back, a low pressure system moved across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland on 30-31 October. Doesn't look intense (c990hPa on 31/10) on the charts but a direct hit on SW Ireland, so I suspect the bird may have been around a few days before discovery?
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Old Yesterday, 21:47   #313
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It’s a long, long way off but Hurricane Wilma that is a Pacific storm is forecast to hit Mexico south of Baja California. It then moves northeast into Texas and along the Gulf Coast as a band of rain. Once in Florida it reforms into a low and starts to move up the east coast. That’s as for as the charts go but my guess is that it could be dragged across the Atlantic by another low.

Too early to say but the Hebrides could be prime position but anywhere from
Shetland to Scilly should be on alert.

Cave swallow anyone?
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Old Yesterday, 22:04   #314
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It’s a long, long way off but Hurricane Wilma that is a Pacific storm is forecast to hit Mexico south of Baja California. It then moves northeast into Texas and along the Gulf Coast as a band of rain. Once in Florida it reforms into a low and starts to move up the east coast. That’s as for as the charts go but my guess is that it could be dragged across the Atlantic by another low.

Too early to say but the Hebrides could be prime position but anywhere from
Shetland to Scilly should be on alert.

Cave swallow anyone?
Too late. Laughing Gull at best.

More interesting is the northern conveyor which is hammering into the Hebs and Iceland at present; a very high trajectory with no fronts (?) but could produce some oddity. Maybe White-winged Crossbill or a Lincoln's Sparrow.

cheers, alan
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Old Today, 06:51   #315
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Once we get past this next weekend of sustained strong northerlies Ventusky offers us all from Shetland to Scilly a short spell of fine-looking easterlies out of Scandinavia (Mon-Tues) that suggests the autumn is not yet over.

Whilst normally carrying a sick note from my mother that says I'm not allowed to go out birding on Scilly in northerly winds, this past few days on St Mary's show once again that in the last ten days of October they are really not all that bad at delivering interesting birds. Just as in the Northern Isles in the last ten days of September, basically just about any winds will do so long as they are not strong opposing headwinds. I got here yesterday afternoon with a choice of Red-throated Pipit, Rosy Starling, Dusky Warbler, Serin, Little Buntings (4), Richard's Pipits (2), Barred Warbler, Wryneck, Great Egret (still scarce here) to go and see. (I chose the Long-eared Owl in Lower Moors as my first stop). Basically, I think the centre of gravity of migration (thrushes aside) shifts gradually towards south-west Britain as the month progresses and despite our moans and groans about weather near-misses on Scilly in the first three weeks of the month, the last week or so is nearly always very very birdy and I recommend anybody who fancies a bagful of scarcities and interesting birding pay the islands a visit at this time of year.
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Old Today, 07:55   #316
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I think Hurricane Willa is very, very unlikely to get this far

Hurricanes need 1) sea temp >27C, 2) plenty of humidity, 3) weak vertical shear (ie, mid-level cross-winds)

When Willa hits dry land, the convection stops instantly. When the residual rotation hits the Sierra Madre Occidental, the rotation is disrupted. The remaining moisture will continue to drift NE, causing havoc across the deserts. It could regenerate if it crosses the Gulf of Mexico, but a more northerly path across land is much more likely. It will then merge with whatever non-tropical systems are around at that time

Not a good time to be around Guadalajara, with a Cat 4 hitting the coast
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Old Today, 09:29   #317
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More interesting is the northern conveyor which is hammering into the Hebs and Iceland at present; a very high trajectory with no fronts.

cheers, alan
Ma telly was moving around in the caravan last night!! On the strength of that there must be a yank out here somewhere!!
Hopefully it will calm down soon though, and then we can hopefully find something good, as well as being able to watch Coronation Street without bouts of motion sickness!!
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