The Zoologist/4th series, vol 6 (1902)/Issue 730/Migration of Birds in N.E. Lincolnshire during the Autumn of 1901

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Migration of Birds in N.E. Lincolnshire during the Autumn of 1901 (1901)
by George Henry Caton Haigh

'Migration of Birds in N.E. Lincolnshire during the Autumn of 1901' was published in The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 6, issue 730, April 1902, p. 121–132

3994576Migration of Birds in N.E. Lincolnshire during the Autumn of 19011901George Henry Caton Haigh


No. 730.—April, 1902.


By G.H. Caton Haigh.

There have been few seasons during recent years in which the meteorological conditions have been so uniformly favourable for the passage of birds on their southward migration as those prevailing throughout the past autumn, and although for this reason no great "rush" of migration took place, the steady inflow of birds was almost uninterrupted from the middle of August to the end of November.

The whole autumn was unusually fine and dry, the only heavy rainfall occurring on Nov. 12th and 13th.

During the latter half of August light variable winds prevailed, with fine weather. From Aug. 31st to Sept. 3rd the wind was N.E., and from this date to the end of September light easterly to south-easterly winds prevailed with little intermission. Throughout October the wind was again very variable, but usually light, with fine weather. November was a somewhat similar month, except for a gale and heavy rain on the 12th and 13th, followed by a spell of sharp frost to the 18th.

As in 1900, no rare birds appeared, the only unusual occurrences being those of the Firecrest, Roller, Great Snipe, and Red-necked Phalarope.

The waders were again very scarce, as they have been in all recent years. Possibly the great increase in the number of men with guns who annually visit the Lincolnshire coast from the manufacturing districts is gradually causing the shore-birds to forsake the Humber flats as a resting-place on their autumn passage.

Turdus viscivorus, Linn. Mistle-Thrush.—These birds were extremely numerous in the vicinity of the coast during the autumn. Large flocks appeared on Sept. 21st, and many between the 28th and Oct. 8th. They were again abundant from Nov. 5th to 9th, and on 20th several appeared in the hedges near the sea with Song-Thrushes.

T. musicus, Linn. Song-Thrush.—A heavy and longcontinued migration of this species took place, commencing at the unusually early date of Sept. 2nd, when a few birds appeared on the coast. The chief movement, however, took place from Sept. 25th to Oct. 17th. Between Nov. 5th and 9th another passage occurred, accompanying the other species of Turdidæ. Lastly, on Nov. 19th and 20th Thrushes were again abundant in all covert near the coast.

T. iliacus, Linn. Redwing.—A very insignificant passage, a few appearing on the coast on Nov. 1st and 5th, and a good many on the 9th. Redwings were less numerous than usual throughout the autumn.

T. pilaris, Linn. Fieldfare.—I saw a small flock of Fieldfares at Well Vale, near Alford, on Oct. 31st, and a single bird on the coast on the following day. On Nov. 5th, 6th, and 9th Fieldfares were very abundant.

T. merula, Linn. Blackbird.—Less numerous on the coast than in any recent year. The first, consisting mostly of young cocks, came in on Oct. 2nd. They were again numerous on 21st. On Nov. 5th there was a considerable flight, the majority being old cocks, with a few young birds of both sexes. Again, on the 9th, a further flight, almost all old males.

T. torquatus, Linn. Ring-Ouzel.—I shot a young bird at North Cotes on Oct. 3rd. One was again seen near the same place on 22nd, and another on 25th.

Saxicola œnanthe (Linn.). Wheatear.—A good many appeared on Aug. 23rd, most of them perching freely on hedges near the sea-bank. On Sept. 4th, 5th, and 6th they were extremely abundant near the coast, and a few remained until the 23rd. On Oct. 2nd I shot an example of a large form which often appears in October, and on the 3rd and 4th I saw single birds, probably of the same form.

Pratincola rubetra (Linn.). Whinchat.—Very scarce. I only saw three single birds all the autumn, on Sept. 5th, 6th, and 30th.

Ruticilla phœnicurus (Linn.). Redstart.—Many Redstarts appeared in the coast hedges on Sept. 5th, with various other small birds. On the following day they were less numerous, and then entirely disappeared until the 23rd, when a considerable immigration took place. On 25th the Redstarts had left again, and I only saw about half a dozen, and from this date until 30th I saw two or three each day.

Erithacus rubecula (Linn.). Redbreast.—Robins appeared on the coast on Sept. 20th, and were present in varying, though never in great, numbers until the end of the month. There was no visible migration throughout October, but they were again present in small numbers on the 5th, 9th, and 20th of November.

Sylvia cinerea (Bechst.). Whitethroat.—Considerable numbers of Whitethroats appeared in the coast hedges as early as Aug. 23rd. They were again abundant on the 3rd and 5th of September, and still more so on the 14th, but on 20th only a single individual remained. On the 24th I noticed a few in turnip-fields inland at Grainsby and Fenby, and, lastly, two on the coast at North Cotes on the 28th.

S. curruca (Linn.). Lesser Whitethroat.—Only occurred twice on the coast at North Cotes—the first on Sept. 5th, and the second on 28th.

S. atricapilla (Linn.). Blackcap.—I shot a single old cock Blackcap in a hedge at North Cotes on Sept. 28th.

S. hortensis (Bechst.). Garden-Warbler.—Among the many small birds which came in on Sept. 25th were two Garden Warblers, and on the following day I met with a single bird.

Regulus cristatus, K.L. Koch. Goldcrest.—As in last autumn, the Goldcrest was almost entirely absent on the coast. A single bird appeared on Sept. 27th, a second on Oct. 2nd, and a third on Nov. 5th.

R. ignicapillus (Brehm). Firecrest.—I shot an example of this pretty species at North Cotes on Nov. 9 th. It was in a tall old thorn hedge, and I noticed that it kept to the topmost branches instead of to the middle or bottom of the hedge, as a Goldcrest would have done.

Phylloscopus rufus (Bechst.). Chiffchaff.—This usually scarce migrant appeared in somewhat large numbers. I obtained a single bird on Sept. 25th, while on the 27th they were quite numerous in the hedges near the sea-bank at North Cotes. On Sept, 30th I only saw one, and another on Oct. 3rd.

P. trochilus (Linn.). Willow-Warbler.—The passage of this species lasted from the middle of August to the end of September. I first saw it on Aug. 16th, and from that date until Sept. 26th it was always present in the coast hedges in greater or less numbers, though at no time very abundant.

P. sibilatrix (Bechst.). Wood-Warbler.—On Sept. 3rd I saw a Warbler in a hedge at North Cotes which I have no doubt belonged to this species, but it was very shy, and I failed to secure it.

Acrocephalus phragmitis (Bechst.). Sedge-Warbler.—I saw two Sedge-Warblers in a reed-bed close to the sea-bank at Tetney on the somewhat late date of Sept. 26th.

Accentor modularis (Linn.). Hedge-Sparrow.—The passage of the Hedge-Sparrow lasted from the middle of August to nearly the middle of November, but, curiously enough, it was almost absent throughout October. It first appeared on Aug. 16th, and was numerous on 23rd, was again abundant on Sept. 5th and 30th, and, lastly, a slight movement took place on Nov. 5th to 9th.

Parus major, Linn. Great Titmouse.—A few Great Tits appeared in the coast hedges on Sept. 5th and 6th; one each day on Oct. 3rd and 4th; a good many on 22nd, and a single bird on Nov. 29th.

P. britannicus, Sharpe & Dress. Coal-Titmouse.—I saw three of these Tits in a hedge near the sea-bank at Tetney on Sept. 26th, and obtained one of them. On Oct. 3rd I secured a couple in a hedge near the coast at North Cotes. All appeared to belong to the British form.

P. cæruleus, Linn. Blue Titmouse.—Abundant on the coast all through the autumn. The first bird appeared on Aug. 23rd, and it was scarcely ever absent up to the end of November, being particularly numerous on Sept. 21st and Oct. 3rd and 22nd.

Troglodytes parvulus, Koch. Wren.—Not at all numerous, but a few appeared in the coast hedges on Sept. 25th, 28th, and 30th.

Motacilla lugubris, Temm. Pied Wagtail.—A good many young birds in the vicinity of the coast on Aug. 16th. Numerous on Sept. 20th, the majority being young birds. Again abundant on Oct. 2nd, these being mostly adults.

M. melanope, Pall. Grey Wagtail.—I saw the first on Oct. 4th, and several appeared during the first half of November.

M. raii (Bonap.). Yellow Wagtail.—A good many young birds near the coast on Aug. 16th.From Sept. 2nd to 5th a few each day, all immature. Two or three young birds in potatoes at North Cotes on Sept. 23rd.

Anthus pratensis (Linn.). Meadow-Pipit.—This bird was numerous along the coast all through September, though not so abundant as usual. I noticed two coming in over the sea in the daytime on Sept. 27th at Saltfleet.

A. obscurus (Lath.). Rock-Pipit.—A few Rock-Pipits about North Cotes Sluice on Sept. 26th. Numerous all along the coast on Oct. 3rd.

Muscicapa atricapilla, Linn. Pied Flycatcher.—The first Pied Flycatcher appeared on Sept. 4th. They were numerous in the coast hedges on 5th and 6th, a few were seen on the 14th and 23rd, and the last bird was observed on 25th.

M. grisola, Linn. Spotted Flycatcher.—Very abundant at Grainsby on Aug. 29th. On Sept. 4th I noticed two of these birds in hedges near the sea. Last seen at Grainsby on Sept. 23rd. It is somewhat unusual to meet with this Flycatcher on the coast.

Hirundo rustica, Linn. Swallow.—The majority of the Swallows left during the third week of October. The last that I saw were a pair on the 19th.

Coccothraustes vulgaris, Pall. Hawfinch.—Apparently scarcer than usual; I only noticed three in Grainsby Healing covert on Nov. 30th.

Carduelis spinus (Linn.). Siskin.—I shot a Siskin among some reeds near the coast at Tetney on Sept. 23rd, and the same day saw a pair in a hedge near the sea-bank at Marshchapel.

Passer domesticus (Linn.). House-Sparrow,—On Sept. 23rd very large flocks of Sparrows appeared in the hedges and stubbles near the sea, and on Oct. 21st swarms of these birds were present in the same situations.

P. montanus (Linn.). Tree-Sparrow.—I saw a few Tree-Sparrows in a hedge at Grainsby on Oct. 1st. On Nov. 9th I noticed several among the flocks of House-Sparrows in the vicinity of the coast.

Fringilla cœlebs, Linn. Chaffinch.—Chaffinches were very abundant on the coast on Oct. 21st, and as usual all were cocks.

F. montifringilla, Linn. Brambling.—Bramblings were very scarce all through the autumn. I procured a female on Sept. 23rd on a hedge near the sea-bank at Marshchapel.

Linota cannabina (Linn.). Linnet.—Very large flocks on the coast in hedges, stubbles, and "fitties" on Sept. 20th, and still more abundant on 25th.

L.flavirostris (Linn.). Twite.—Two or three Twites arrived on North Cotes "fitties" on Oct. 3rd. I saw a small flock quite a mile inland on 5th, and a large flock appeared on North Cotes "fitties" on 22nd.

Emberiza citrinella, Linn. Yellowhammer.—Very abundant near the coast in hedges and turnip-fields on Oct. 4th and 5th.

E. schœniclus, Linn. Reed-Bunting.—One or two appeared on the coast on Sept. 30th.

Plectrophenax nivalis (Linn.). Snow-Bunting.—Very scarce; a few young birds and one adult appeared on the sea-bank at North Cotes on Nov. 19th.

Sturnus vulgaris, Linn. Starling.—Large flocks in the vicinity of the coast, and others coming in and passing inland to S.W. on Sept. 20th. On 25th a similar migration, but in larger numbers. On Oct. 2nd and 3rd small straggling flocks were passing inland to N.W. all day. The same passage continued on 4th, but the flocks were larger and not so frequent, and some of them were going south.

Corvus monedula, Linn. Jackdaw.—On Oct. 21st I saw a flock of about twenty Jackdaws come in from the sea, flying from E. to W. at a considerable height.

C. corone, Linn. Carrion-Crow.—About half a dozen Carrion Crows near the coast at North Cotes on Sept. 25th. These birds were unusually abundant during the autumn, exceeding the Grey Crows in number. On Dec. 1st I saw a flock of quite two hundred in a stubble-field outside Autby Wood—a favourite roosting-place.

C. cornix, Linn. Grey Crow.—A few appeared on Oct. 5th. I noticed a good many inland on the wolds on 15th, mostly flying west.

C. frugilegus, Linn. Rook.—Numerous on grass-land in the vicinity of the coast on Oct. 2nd. On 22nd single Rooks were coming in and going W. at short intervals, until one o'clock; almost all appeared to be old birds. On 25th they were still coming in in straggling flocks from E. to W. until two o'clock, both old and young birds travelling together. On Nov. 29th a similar migration took place, the flocks moving in the same direction until two o'clock. As far as I could see the last consisted entirely of young birds.

Alauda arvensis, Linn. Sky-Lark.—Very little visible migration, but the species was present in its usual numbers during the winter. On Oct. 3rd small parties were going N.W. all day. On the 4th a few flocks going N.W., and a smaller number going S. On 22nd large flocks coming in from the sea from E. to W., and on Dec. 1st a few passing S.W. over Grainsby.

Cypselus apus (Linn.). Swift.—Last Swifts seen on Aug. 23rd. The majority left before the middle of the month.

Dendrocopus major (Linn.). Pied Woodpecker.—Fairly numerous in the winter. I saw the first at Grainsby on Oct. 3rd. One was said to have been killed on the Tetney sea-bank on Nov. 16th, and on 26th I saw two recently killed young birds at a Grimsby birdstuffer's.

Alcedo ispida, Linn. Kingfisher.—First seen on Saltfleet Haven on Sept. 6th; a second at North Cotes sluice on 25th, and several along the sea-bank on Oct. 4th.

Coracias garrulus, Linn. Roller.—In the 'Field' of Oct. 5th Mr. L.D. Marsden notes the appearance of a Roller, which was seen at Brackenborough, near Louth, on Aug. 29th, and again on Sept. 26th.

Cuculus canorus, Linn. Cuckoo.—Fairly numerous at Grainsby during the last week of August. Last seen near Scarthoe on Sept. 9th.

Strix flammea, Linn. White Owl.—A single Barn-Owl in a small plantation near the coast at Tetney on Oct. 9th.

Asio otus (Linn.). Long-eared Owl.—A small Owl, probably of this species, near the coast at Tetney on the evening of Sept. 25th.

A. accipitrinus (Pall.). Short-eared Owl.—I flushed two Short-eared Owls from among the thistles on the sea-bank at Tetney and North Cotes on Nov. 20th.

Buteo vulgaris, Leach. Common Buzzard.—A Buzzard was seen near the sea-bank at North Cotes on Oct. 22nd.

Accipiter nisus (Linn.). Sparrow-Hawk.—A few along the sea-bank on Sept. 5th and 6th. Numerous in the vicinity of the coast at the end of September, and all through the first week of October, and two or three in the coast hedges on Oct. 22nd.

Falco peregrinus, Tunst. Peregrine Falcon.—A large Hawk, probably of this species, on the sands off Grainthorpe Haven on Sept. 27th.

F. æsalon, Tunst. Merlin.—First seen on Oct. 5th; one came in from the sea, and passed inland to W. A second at Somercotes on Nov. 1st.

F. tinnunculus, Linn. Kestrel.—Several Kestrels along the coast on Sept. 5th. Very numerous on 20th and 21st, and again a few on Oct. 22nd.

Sula bassana (Linn.). Gannet.—A single young bird on the sea off Donna Nook on Sept. 27th.

Ardea cinerea, Linn. Heron.—Young birds abundant on the coast on the drains and "fitties" on Aug. 23rd.

Anser brachyrhynchus, Baill. Pink-footed Goose.—First seen on Oct. 15th, a flock of between thirty and forty going W. over Grainsby. It was, however, reported that a flock of one hundred was seen at Tetney Lock on 11th. From this date to the first week of November many flocks of Grey Geese were seen both inland and on the coast.

Cygnus musicus, Bechst. Whooper.—Three large Swans were seen on Oct. 1st on North Cotes "fitties."

Tadorna cornuta (S. G. Gmel.). Sheld-Duck.—A flock of about twenty Sheld-Ducks—all apparently young birds—on North Cotes sands on Sept. 5th, and a few in the same place on 20th.

Anas boscas, Linn. Mallard.—Several large flocks of Wild Ducks appeared on the sea off Saltfleet on Sept. 27th. During the northerly gale and heavy rain of Nov. 12th and 13th great numbers of Ducks were reported as seen in the Humber and on the coast.

Nettion crecca (Linn.). Teal.—Teal were scarce in the early part of the season, but I saw a flock of a dozen on Aug. 28th. They were rather more numerous during the second half of October.

Mareca penelope (Linn.). Wigeon.—Somewhat scarce and late in appearing. I shot the first on Sept. 25th, but saw very few until October.

Œdemia nigra (Linn.). Scoter.—A flock of about a hundred on the sea off Donna Nook on Sept. 3rd.

Columba palumbus, Linn. Wood-Pigeon.—On Oct. 28th and 29th flocks of forty to fifty going S. at intervals. From Nov. 8th to 15th they were numerous all over the district, but the majority disappeared shortly after the latter date. I was told that an immense flock passed over Thoresby about Nov. 20th.

Turtur communis, Selby. Turtle-Dove.—Was very abundant up to the end of August, but almost all had left by the end of the first week of September.

Crex pratensis, Bechst. Corn-Crake.—Last seen at North Cotes on Sept. 2nd.

Rallus aquaticus, Linn. Water-Rail.—A few on fresh-water "crikes" near the coast on Oct. 21st and 22nd.

Charadrius pluvialis, Linn. Golden Plover.—A few at North Cotes on Sept. 3rd; another small flock on 30th. On Oct. 5th I saw a flock of about fifty come in from the sea, going S.; but the main body did not arrive until Nov. 19th.

Squatarola helvetica (Linn.).—Grey Plover.—Two or three Grey Plovers on North Cotes sands on Sept. 26th, and a few more at Tetney and North Cotes on 28th, but the species was unusually scarce all the autumn.

Vanellus vulgaris, Bechst. Lapwing.—The first travelling flocks seen on Sept. 25th. On 26th small flocks coming in from the sea, and going W., until three o'clock; a few which I shot were young birds. Oct. 3rd, a few flocks going N.W. at a great height. On Nov. 17th, during sharp frost, straggling flocks of Lapwings were passing over Grainsby to W. until about two o'clock, and on 19th they were very abundant on fields near the coast, with Golden Plovers. Lastly, on Nov. 30th an immense flight passed over Grainsby to W.; it extended as far as I could see in each direction, and must have contained several thousands of birds, but was divided into separate parties of from one to two hundred each.

Hæmatopus ostralegus, Linn. Sea-pie.—A large flock near the mouth of Grainthorpe Haven on Sept. 20th.

Phalaropus hyperboreus (Linn.). Red-necked Phalarope.—One was brought to me by a Plover-catcher on Sept. 3rd, which he had just killed on his decoy-pool near Tetney Lock.

Scolopax rusticula, Linn. Woodcock.—Apparently a poor Woodcock season everywhere. Three were seen at Well, near Alford, on Oct. 30th, and two shot on the following day. The main flight, however, does not appear to have arrived until the third week of November. Two were killed on the Mablethorpe sand-hills on 23rd of that month, and I saw a good many in the coverts about Grainsby on 27th.

Gallinago major (Gmel.). Great Snipe.—On Sept. 6th I shot a Great Snipe from a small patch of potatoes near the sea-bank at North Cotes. When first flushed it only flew about ten yards, and dropped in the same potato-patch.

G. cœlestis (Frenz.). Snipe.—Many Snipe on Tetney "fitties," and in "crikes" near the coast on Oct. 2nd and 4th; but very wild for new-comers. On 7th I noticed a few Snipe coming in from the sea, and going W., and I flushed several in potato-fields near the coast.

C. gallinula (Linn.). Jack Snipe.—I shot the first Jack Snipe at Tetney on Sept. 20th, and a second on 26th. A great immigration took place on Oct. 21st, when I killed eight and a half couples of these birds in a patch of reeds known as Madam's Crike, situated close to the sea at Tetney.

Tringa alpina, Linn. Dunlin.—A few on the coast on Aug. 16th, but far less than usual at this season. Some large flocks appeared all along the coast, on Sept. 27th. On Nov. 13th, with a heavy N. gale, a flock of two to three hundred Sandpipers, probably of this species, passed over Waith Fen (five miles inland), going W., and flying close to the ground.

T. subarquata (Güld.). Curlew-Sandpiper.—I shot a young bird of this species out of a flock of six on Marshchapel sands on Sept. 20th.

T. canutus, Linn. Knot.—A few small flocks of Knots appeared on North Cotes sands on Sept. 26th, and some very large flocks on Nov. 5th.

Calidris arenaria (Linn.). Sanderling.—Very scarce; only saw four—two adults and two young—between Saltfleet and Grainthorpe on Sept. 3rd. On 27th I noticed a few small flocks containing both old and young birds in the same locality.

Machetes pugnax (Linn.). Ruff.—Saw a single Ruff on Grainthorpe "fitties" on Sept. 6th.

Totanus hypoleucus (Linn.). Common Sandpiper.—I found these birds abundant in all the marsh-drains near the coast on my arrival in Lincolnshire in the middle of August, and a few remained in the district until Sept. 28th.

T. ochropus (Linn.). Green Sandpiper.—As in the case of the last species, the Green Sandpiper was abundant by the middle of August. It had become scarce by Sept. 22nd, and I last saw it on Nov. 3rd.

T. calidris (Linn.). Redshank.—Very large flocks on Grainthorpe "fitties" on Sept. 3rd.

T. fuscus (Linn.). Spotted Redshank.—I saw two of these birds in a "crike" in a field near the coast at North Cotes on Aug. 16th, and again at the same place on 28th, with a party of five Greenshanks. One was caught by a Plover-catcher at Tetney on Sept. 23rd.

T. canescens (Gmel.). Greenshank.—Several Greenshanks on Tetney "fitties" on Aug. 23rd, and a great many both at Tetney and North Cotes on 28th.

Limosa lapponica (Linn.). Bar-tailed Godwit.—A flock of about a dozen Godwits on Grainthorpe "fitties" on Sept. 3rd.

Numenius arquata (Linn.). Curlew.—Curlews were passing S. over Grainsby in great numbers on the night of Aug. 14th. Some large flocks appeared on the coast on 28th, and the species was abundant through the autumn and winter.

N. phæopus (Linn.). Whimbrel.—This usually abundant species was almost entirely absent. I saw a few on Aug. 16th, only one on 28th, and all were gone before the middle of September.

Sterna macrura, Naum. Arctic Tern.—Very scarce; I saw two on Sept. 6th near Grainthorpe Haven. On 27th a few small flocks of Terns off Donna Nook. Almost all appeared to belong to this species, but possibly there were a few Common Terns among them.

Larus argentatus, Gmel. Herring-Gull.—On Aug. 31st flocks of Herring-Gulls in V-formation were passing S. all day over Grainsby. They were flying at a great height, and calling incessantly. On Sept. 1st they were still passing, but in smaller numbers. On Sept. 3rd I noticed that Herring-Gulls were very scarce on the coast, but the Great Black-backed Gulls were present by thousands, quite nine out of ten being adult birds.

Megalestris catarrhactes (Linn.). Great Skua.—On Sept. 21st I saw a very large dark-coloured Skua off Donna Nook, which probably belonged to this species.

Stercorarius pomatorhinus (Temm.). Pomatorhine Skua.—A beautiful adult bird of this species was shot in a drain near the coast at Tetney by one of the Plover-catchers on Sept. 4th.

S. crepidatus (Gmel.). Arctic Skua.—I saw the first of these birds on Sept. 3rd. On 6th there was an adult of the white-breasted form, and, lastly, a single bird on 27th.

Podicipes fluviatilis (Tunst.). Little Grebe.—First appeared on the coast on Sept. 25th at North Cotes, a single bird in full summer plumage. It was rather numerous during the winter on the brooks and marsh-drains.

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