Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Even larger passage of Arctic Tern than yesterday prior to midday

Heysham Obs
Reasonable coverage this morning with excellent views of Arctic Tern from both the vantage points at the Stone Jetty & North harbour wall. However, the presence of 430 off the NHW on arrival does make you wonder what passed through earlier. The sad thing was that only 3 observers were there to appreciate this spectacular event

Sea/vis 0740-1200 North Harbour wall
GARGANEY: A seawatching first for Heysham in the form of two males flying into the Bay approximately 500m out at c0800hrs. The identification process as they were initially picked up some distance away suggests a crash course on distant i.d. of this species is required!
Arctic Tern: 1,426 north-east, possibly over-conservative in avoiding duplication when some birds backtracked for a short time. Some were undoubtedly missed as they arrived from the SE behind us or over our heads!
Arctic Skua: At c1100 a dark morph was picked up far out into the Bay flying NW to SE. It then 'picked up' a light morph off the sea and both birds changed direction, headed for the wooden jetty then started climbing and circling upwards just south of the Power Stations. They then appeared to head NE at great height. A more conventional sighting of a dark morph heading up the centre of the Bay at 1145hrs
Black Tern: One flew in at 0909 with Arctics. Another was located on the seaward end of Heysham PS at 0930 but it, and the gang of Arctics it was with, did not pass the north wall - presumably went inland to the south of the jetty
Gannet: 1
Common Tern: 2
Sandwich Tern: 2
Manx Shearwater: 1
Auk spp.: 1
Kittiwake: 2
Red-throated Diver: 1
Swallow: c26 in
Linnet: 1 in
alba Wagtail: 1 in

Stone jetty

Arctic Tern - counting stopped as I was rendered disabled for a time by the sheer beauty of these birds as they came within yards of the end of the Stone Jetty.
0830-0900 hrs 219 'in'
0925-1005 hrs 261 'in'

Little tern 1 'in' 0906 hrs + 1 'in' 0928 hrs

Black Tern 1 'in' 1000 hrs this appeared to be fly catching from the sea surface close inshore in the company of c30 Arctic tern doing the same thing over the same area without making any inward progress for about 15 mins.

Sandwich tern 6 'in'

Whimbrel 17 'in'

Sand martin 1 north
Swallow 7 north
Great crested grebe 'in' summer plumage
Shelduck 4 'out' 1 'in'
Red-breasted merganser pair 'in'

2 juvenile Shag

5 Wheatear OE foreshore but not checked until 1210hrs, and 2 early morning on the NHW. I do not think any ringing was attempted and we obviously desperately need some help in this area

Loads of miscellany on the north wall including just one Red Admiral, queen wasp out to sea, several Large and Small White.

Unfortunately, JBP still in the 'shadow' with the east winds sending the terns and skuas overland before within visual range of there. Just 21 Arctic Tern reported by 1130hrs and no evidence even the 'central Bay' Arctic Skua made it. Their turn should come in next week's weather. Female Yellow Wagtail following the horse around the paddock next to my house at High Tatham from at least 1530-1730hrs.