Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Reasonable, but what was missed from first light to 0915hrs!

*Please note the LDBWS meeting next Monday is at HORNBY INSTITUTE

Heysham Obs
What a pity that the best migration morning of the spring so far was only "picked up" by one observer from 0915-1115 [and he should have been working!]. An unfortunate combination of key observer's cars being serviced, being out of the area.........or on fixed working hours! The same workshy observer returned 1515-1645.

Sea/vis 0940-1040
This was done from the car with telescope fastened to the window, therefore some 'call-based' vis could have easily been missed:
LONG-TAILED DUCK - adult male in winter plumage flew into the Bay at c1000hrs and is probably on the sea in a low tide channel as I type this. Could not find it on a 'trawl' along the prom mid-afternoon.
Common Scoter - flock of 6 in
Gannet - 10+7+2+1 in (then all out on the 'far side')
Arctic Skua - dark morph in rather distanrly at 0942ish
Arctic Tern - flock of 4 in (how many earlier on?)
Sandwich Tern - c25 - 23 in & 2 blogging
Whimbrel - flock of 7 in
Swallow - 106 north

Sea/vis (phase 2!) 1515-1645hrs
Arctic Skua - dark morph was sitting on the sea next to the yellow buoys on arrival at 1515. It was then mobbed by two passing Sandwich Tern, flew for a short distance then landed on ther sea, floating into the bay on the increasingly speedy incoming tide.
Arctic Tern - the first two decent flocks of 45+40 were already gaining height as they passed the north wall
Sandwich Tern - the maximum count of several pans of the whole sea area from the NHW was c150 at c1615hrs. Most were 'blogging' but numbers increased until about 1620hrs, then most slowly drifted out
Red-throated Diver - 1+3 floating in
Swallow - just 5 north

Interestingly, I had no watch on and the best way of timing the sightings was to check Barrow Town Hall clock as there was no heat or any other haze whatsoever!

Middleton IE
Grasshopper Warbler - 2, possibly 3 singing males (stay on the concrete roads if you are visiting, please)
Sedge Warbler - 3 singing males
Garganey - pair on the central marsh pond unfortunately flushed but appeared to land on the Tim Butler pond in the NE corner.
Willow Warbler - c30 migrants in the bushes
Whinchat - 4 along the entrance road - well spread out

Other grounded birds
Wheatear - 41 grounded birds found in the usual coastal circuit
White Wagtail - 5 on Ocean Edge football pitch and two on the grass near Red Nab
Common Whitethroat - singing male near Ocean Edge

Ad Little Gull still around Stage 2 outfall (why?)
Shag - at least two around

One Harbour Porpoise close inshore and two beasties together much further out fitted this species

Similar spread to Heysham of the more 'obvious' migrants located at Aldcliffe viz: 5 Whinchat and 23 Wheatear. The pair of Garganey at Middleton were much warier than the Aldcliffe Marsh birds and this was duly confirmed via a pager message indicating the Aldcliffe Garganey were still present. The first Garden Warbler reported this year (from Scorton). JBP late afternoon observations only produced a small 'flock' of Kittiwake - observers were puzzled why they could not see at least the Sandwich Terns i.e. deception caused by crystal clear visibility making the likes of the wooden jetty look much closer (and perhaps larger) than it really was. Rather severe flooding of the Lune valley will unfortunately have destroyed all shingle nests and flooded quite a few Sand Martin holes (water max. c1ft from top of bank at Gressingham colony). 63 Common Toad on the road between Wray and High Tatham 0002-0010hrs!