It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was wondering how many birds were not detected after a day spent trying, and largely failing, to see singing birds in the trees. Now the birds are everywhere. Swallows, house martins and swifts are flying purposefully along the coast. At first it seems that they are flying low but looking through binoculars tiny specks in the distance reveal the untold numbers flying high.
Hirundines aren’t the only birds moving, warblers fill the bushes. Whitethroat in particular is abundant, their short warble sounding from almost every bush in the dunes. Song-flighting birds frequently bounced in the sky over bramble scrub and rough grassland.
As well as these local breeding summer visitors, songbirds are clearly passing through. Over the weekend tree pipit, whinchat and spotted flycatcher were all present and showing well at the Old Gunsite. This was particularly pleasing as I left the house expecting little. I could not get into the dunes until late afternoon and the extensive use of this dune system by families and dog walkers inevitably causes significant disturbance but this clearly has not frightened these migrants away. Who knows how many birds have been through today. This afternoon experience suggests flocks have been moving through all day and any counts are only a fraction of the true figure.