Whooper swans – 1766
Bewick’s swans – 243
Dawn swan count
Whooper swans – 1766
WeBS count highlights
Wigeon – 2953
Mallard – 887
Teal – 561
Pochard – 174
Pintail – 107
Shoveler – 50
Gadwall – 22
Great crested grebe – 9
Black-tailed godwit – 245
Lapwing – 32
Golden plover – 22
Curlew – 12
Snipe – 12
Redshank – 2
Marsh harrier – 2
Buzzard – 2
Fieldfare – 350
As the birds fly in, ‘Migration Watch’ takes off
They will overwinter at UK wetlands which provide food and safety until temperatures rise sufficiently for the birds to return to breeding sites.
Their stay at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust centres creates some of the most memorable natural spectacles anywhere in the UK and is being monitored and highlighted on WWT’s popular Migration Watch blog.
Stunning photos and film clips are complementing eye witness accounts of which birds have arrived, where and in what number. Blog readers can also put their questions to WWT experts and tell us about what they’ve seen themselves.
The blog’s resumption comes as the BBC’s Autumnwatch prepares to broadcast from WWT’s Slimbridge headquarters in Gloucestershire.
Julia Newth, a species monitoring expert at WWT, said: “Watching huge flocks of geese and swans is one of autumn’s great pleasures and anyone interested in wildlife cannot fail to be moved and astounded by the journeys they make to reach us.
“The UK is the winter home of birds that migrate from as far away as Canada and Siberia. Some species are doing well, but others are in serious decline. Our monitoring work helps identify which species are doing well and which are in trouble so that we can implement conservation measures where they are most needed..
“Check WWT’s website, enjoy the spectacle from your home or find out where you can get out to see it firsthand.”
Several WWT centres feed their migrant visitors daily, public events that attract hundreds of people.
Migration Watch will also stress the important conservation work undertaken for wildfowl.
Some species are in decline and their long journeys often come with many risks such as adverse weather, shooting and flying accidents.
Satellite tracking is just one research tool currently used to learn more about the birds’ migrations and the obstacles they may encounter on the way. WWT’s reserves are managed to provide the best possible refuges for the birds during the winter, so that they are fit and healthy for their spring migration.
The UK is one of the most important places for migratory waterbirds with its long coast line and protected reserves. WWT centres are central to ensuring these birds’ survival. Last year, WWT Martin Mere in Lancashire had the best autumn migration in 15 years, with more than 1,300 whooper swans and 30,000 pink-footed geese.
More than 9,000 whooper and Bewick’s swans overwintered at WWT Welney in Norfolk while WWT Caerlaverock on the Solway Firth is expecting more than 35,000 barnacle geese
WWT’s Castle Espie reserve overlooking Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland hosts most of the world’s light-bellied brent geese while around 35,000 migrating wildfowl are likely to overwinter at WWT’s flagship reserve at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.
Log on to WWT’s Migration Watch this autumn and watch this season’s skies come alive.
Migration Watch update
I watched a peregrine falcon flying low over White Meadow, heading south, as I carried out this morning’s fence check.
A little owl was also sat watching me down at the river reedbed, perched in a dead tree.
David Lindo ‘The Urban Birder’ – talk and book signing
Cities and towns are surprisingly good places to watch wildlife, with a fascinating array of bird species making use of the urban environment.
David Lindo, the self-styled ‘Urban Birder’ and a one-man ornithological phenomenon, is dedicated to spreading the word about birdwatching in cities and urban areas; bringing a fresh perspective to modern birding.
Join him at WWT Washington Wetland Centre on Sunday 13 November to hear about his varied experiences as an urban birdwatcher, from encounters with the police to finding oases of wildlife amid the city sprawl.
Follow his journey from leading tours around his primary school woods at the age of eight, to encouraging budding birders on TV and in his wildlife magazine columns.
David will be giving a talk from 2.30pm in the Discovery Centre and will also be sharing some top urban birding tips. His new book, The Urban Birder, will be available to buy in the gift shop and David will be signing copies after the talk.
The talk is free with admission to WWT Washington and places will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Please email email@example.com or call 0191 419 5934 to reserve a place.
For more information on urban birding, including details of upcoming wildlife walks and talks, please visit www.theurbanbirder.com
David Lindo first appeared on our screens as a contributor on Springwatch, where he took viewers for a guided bird walk around his ‘garden’ – Wormwood Scrubs in West London.
Since then he has appeared on numerous shows such as Daybreak and Countrywise for ITV1, and Countryfile and The One Show for BBC1, sharing his love and knowledge of urban birds and wildlife with the nation. He also has regular columns in BBC Wildlife, Birdwatching and the RSPB’s Birds magazines.
David believes nature is all around us and that you don’t have to be in the middle of the countryside to appreciate it; the city can be just as exciting. He hopes that by enhancing the profile for cool urban birding, more and more of us will turn our eyes to the skies and start appreciating the beautiful, often unlikely wildlife that defines our cityscapes.
He is the founder of the Tower 42 Bird Study Group, the first dedicated migration watch from the top of a skyscraper anywhere in the world, as well as co-founder of the Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project.
Previously head of membership at the British Trust for Ornithology and chairman of the London Bird Club, David is also a patron of several organisations, including the Alderney Wildlife Trust, Birding for All and the Spitalfields City Farm. He is a Fellow Member of the International League of Conservation Writers, an ambassador of the BBC Wildlife Fund, a judge on the Observer Ethical Awards 2011, a Founding Member of the Alderney Bird Club, an Honorary Member of the Mull Bird Club and also on the committee of The Friends of Wormwood Scrubs.
Take a walk on WWT Washington’s wild side
On the third Saturday of every month, one of our expert staff will be leading members of the public on a free guided tour around our stunning wetlands, woodlands and wildlife reserve. There’s no need to book, just meet in the picture window at reception at 2pm to take part.
The themes of the tour will change throughout the seasons, along with our fantastic range of wild birds, insects, amphibians and plant life. January’s walk looked at the colourful woodland birds of Hawthorn Wood Feeding Station and the beautiful wintering wildfowl and waders down at Wader Lake.
The remainder of the timetable is as follows, but is subject to change depending upon the spectacular wildlife highlights at the time. For further information, please call 0191 416 5454 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
February 19: Wader Lake (grey heron nest-building).
March 19: East Down (mammals including brown hare, fox and vole) and amphibian ponds (tadpoles).
April 16: amphibian ponds (tadpoles, common frog and toad) and Wader Lake (waders and grey heron).
May 21: Wader Lake (common tern, waders, avocet, lapwing, grey heron) and Spring Gill (bluebells and woodland flora).
June 18: reedbeds (reed warbler, sedge warbler, reed bunting) and Top Meadow/Old Oak Meadow (bee orchid and other wildflowers).
July 16: Top Meadow/Old Oak Meadow (bee orchid and other wildflowers) and dragonfly/amphibian ponds (dragonfly and damselfly).
August 20: dragonfly/amphibian ponds (dragonfly and damselfly) and the Insect Garden (butterflies and bees).
September 17: the Insect Garden (butterflies and bees) and Migration Watch (the start of Autumn passing migrants).
October 14: Migration Watch (looking out for Autumn passing migrants) and Hawthorn Wood Feeding Station (woodland birds).
November 19: the River Wear/Window on the Wear (goosander, goldeneye, little grebe, grey heron) and Wader Lake (Winter wildfowl and waders).
December 16: Wader Lake (Winter wildfowl and waders) and Hawthorn Wood Feeding Station (woodland birds).