Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Good, but did I miss a Black Kite by not staying at home!

Heysham Obs
Sea/vis 0700-1530 plus 1715-1915

Arctic Tern - 2,102, easily a record day count with some of the strongest movements in the last hour of seawatching. Maximum flock size 151. Many of these birds cascaded down on to the outfalls from the SE, and, especially in late afternoon when faced by a low-tide channel cul-de-sac, rose high in the sky within viewing range of Heysham and headed off NE

Unlike the early years of recording this movement, when there was little evidence from the Fylde of coastal passage, today suggested an even higher passage rate along that coast, including (and rather oddly?) large numbers past Starr Gate. These were either mainly different birds to those passing Heysham or perhaps were birds which had started to climb into the sky up the north-easterly-orientated Lune flightline and either saw the churned up water (=, as tide races, favoured feeding) at the end of the outfalls and changed their mind or did not like the look of the route anyway. Anyone with any ideas on this may wish to reply to the post on the LDBWS site.

Given the north-easterly orientation of the movement, it was not surprisng that JBPoint only recorded two flocks - 18 & 70 - which headed up the Kent estuary

We are not photographers - the best we could get before the battery went flat. Unusually, just one bird in this piece of airspace

Arctic Skua - 2 light morph together at 0813, dark morph 1246 - all flew/floated into the bay
Osprey - One fishing in the channel just SW of No 8 Buoy, then flew up the Kent channel towards Humphry Head at 1735hrs. First of the year
Black Tern - one flew in with a flock of Arctic Tern at 0743hrs. First of the year
Common Scoter - 8
Common Tern - 1(!)
Fulmar - 1
Manx Shearwater - 5
Red-throated Diver - 3
Sandwich Tern - 8
Kittiwake - 5

Swallow - 226
Sand Martin - 5
Swift - 1
Whimbrel (just) 3
Kestrel - one north up the centre of the Bay

4 juvenile Shag
Purple Sandpiper flushed off the long skeer (opp sand plant entrance) by an angler late afternoon
Med Gull - at least one first summer with a late afternoon influx of c70 Common Gull

Again, impossible to really quantify - there were 5 migrant Whitethroat in the feeder area next to the hut. One of the two Wheatear on the north harbour wall was watched descending from a great height. 'New' Grasshopper Warbler just in the recording area by the sub-station at the end of the bypass. No ringing.

As predicted c/f numbers on Portland Bill etc., 8 Red Admiral butterflies flew rapidly north along the harbour wall during the afternoon/early evening
The first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year was in the NR marsh

Bull Grey Seal off the north harbour wall, catching a huge flatfish spp late afternoon

Northbound Black Kite seen just outside the recording area, and almost certainly flying north through it, perhaps via rather close to my house, at Ribblehead viaduct. Spoonbill throughout the day and a late afternoon high northbound Osprey at Leighton Moss. Two ad Med Gulls still present and the even rarer (in Lancs) Great Black-backed Gull nesting on the public mere.
The photogenic Grasshopper Warbler (see LDBWS site) still at Aldcliffe