Friday, 30 August 2013

Wood Pigeon visible migration - help wanted.

Hi all
I have recently received the following from Adrian Plant in Gwent - he is looking for a few volunteers from Glamorgan to record vismig of Wood Pigeons in Oct/Nov, which as we know can be pretty spectacular. If anyone is interested can I suggest you contact Adrian direct on:
Adrian dot Plant at museumwales dot ac dot uk. Here's the text of Adrians request to me:

For several years now I have been recording visible migration on the Gwent coast at Peterstone Wentlooge. One rather spectacular aspect of this is the large numbers of wood pigeon moving along the S. Wales coast in late October and early November when peak counts are generally 10,000-30,000 birds per hour (have a look at the results on the Trektellen website.-
These birds appear to be of British origin (there are few records of incoming flocks on the east coast at that time of year). From what we know, many birds move SW over the English Midlands and seem to get ‘bottled up’ somewhere in the area from Forest of Dean through to the area between the L bank of the Wye and R bank of the Severn. It is not clear how they reach the S Wales coast from there, but they do, in large numbers and continue to move westwards through Gwent and Glamorgan and probably leave the Welsh coast at some unknown point heading southwards into SW England (I have seen large flocks overflying Lundy for example).
This year I would like to get together a coordinated observation of direction and numbers. We do not know if they enter our region via the Severn, Wye or Usk nor how far west they travel in Wales before heading out to sea. I would like to get a small group of observers stationed at a few critical points to try and sort this out. I can probably arrange for the sites in Gwent but don’t know enough birders in Glamorgan who might be interested. It would need someone at Lavernock (perhaps also further inland as many birds follow the edge of the line of hills in Gwent and may also do so in Glamorgan). Also somebody looking seaward and inland in the Kenfig area, and of course if sites further west could be managed then all the better. Possible dates would be preferably the weekend of 2/3 November or perhaps 9/10 November. It would be best if all observers were in ‘phone contact with each other to help better coordinate things.
So my question is, do you know of anybody who might be willing to participate for 1 or 2 days? Seeing multiple big flocks of pigeons looming out of the dawn sky is a real wildlife spectacular. .  and one that many S Wales birders miss out on. There are usually simultaneous movements of other birds at that time and who knows, participants might even catch the viz-mig bug?