Saturday, 20 January 2007

More 'blogging' than passage?

Heysham Obs
There were several short visits by a number of observers during the day, some of whom were not spoken to and may have extra sightings. The overwhelming impression of the day was that birds were mainly feeding in situ, plus or minus a bit of boat-following and adjusting with the tide. This particularly applied to Kittiwakes and Little Gulls. This is the last but one day of "seawatching conditions" for the foreseeable future - it remains to be seen whether Heysham Obs is a bit of a one-trick-pony with respect to reliance on strong onshore winds for winter interest. I certainly did not expect such a run of "publishable records" as have materialised since this site was set up during the December gales, albeit mainly the same three-four species!

Little Gull: At least 14 Ad and 3 1st W between the wooden jetty and Ocean Edge saltmarsh mid-morning. At least 5 Ad and one 1st W around the north wall/harbour area. No evidence of passage in the various short seawatches. NB Birdnet have reported Little Gulls from here as Little Egrets the last two days!
Kittiwake: As above: 20 or so behind each of two ferries plus another c20 around the harbour/outfalls
Shag: The highest total was 17 all together by the waterfall as the tide dropped
Med Gull: Just the 1st W seen along the north wall

Fulmar - one out middayish (usual 'double-light' form)
Red-throated Diver - at last! - one out distantly at c1000
Auk spp.: Razorbill or Guillemot out middayish, possibly the Razorbill seen earlier off north Morecambe

Twite: 2 on mound (one ringed in winter 2002/3)
Jack Snipe: one Ocean Edge saltmarsh (& 4 Snipe) - forced off by tide. Please ask at reception before you traverse the caravan site to watch the tide in. Thanks.
Wigeon: 73 Red Nab (always worth checking through) - should increase in the calmer weather coming u

Middleton Industrial Estate Wetlands: 8 - 10am
4 mute, 11 coot, 1 moorhen, 1 little grebe (central scrape), 3 goldeneye (0 males),11 tufted, 25 teal, 15 mallard, 9 snipe, 3 pochard (2 male). Pochard not common here now, these plus general increase in wild fowl suggests "sheltering from the storm".

A ragbag of sightings worthy of note, but nothing to set the pulses racing, included: 13 Scaup off north Morecambe, 4 Bewick's Swan Jeremy Lane, male Hen Harrier Leighton Moss, Razorbill seen flying out of the Bay from north Morecambe prom, Razorbill on Leighton Moss public mere (according to sightings book), Spotted Redshank Stone Jetty groyne.