Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Waning enthusiasm for horizon seabirds!

Heysham Obs
If we are going to get bad weather, we may as well go the whole hog and include some 'useful' birding weather i.e. westerly gales. Therefore Friday's forecast may produce exactly the conditions where it might be worth seawatching off Heysham &, if so, there should be Storm Petrel involved, despite Heysham One being off-line (or at least the outfall not seemingly producing any food). Best WELL BEFORE the high tide, especially for Storm Petrel.

A few seabirds wheeling along (or beyond!) the horizon - these used to be meticulously logged but, unless there is a Storm Petrel influx, midsummer/late summer seabirds during fresh onshore winds are really the 'property' of the open sea sites such as the Fylde coast and Walney [2,020 Manx Shearwater in 4 hours off Walney today!]. Occasionally murky conditions or a really strong/wet blow [see intro] will push significant numbers of Gannet/Manx Shearwater/Fulmar into the Bay but this is very much the exception. In other words, we are now in the second half of the year and the seabirds 'should' be heading south (or at least not purposefully NE on migration), therefore special conditions are needed to produce seabirds in the Bay during late summer-early winter [e.g. last December]. Wait for the first records of Leach's Petrel to appear on the info. lines if we receive onshore winds in early September (unless Storm Petrel materialise in the next week or so). In contrast, the outfalls should come into their own in the next few weeks, although there is little current sign with gulls scattered all over unseasonal wet fields.

For the record, 5 Gannet, 4 Manx Shearwater and a Fulmar were seen in bits and bobs of horizon watching totaslling no more than 30 minutes

Wooden jetty/harbour
Pair of Black Guillemot and an elusive juv Shag

Heysham Nature reserve
An early record of dispersing Kingfisher commuting between the 'Obs Tower' pond and the NR marsh

Middleton IE model boat pond
Two Common Sandpiper but no dragonflies in windy conditions

The first Antler Moth of the year in the trap.

Spotted Redshank and Little Ringed Plovers (3 + 1 young) on Conder Pool, Little Egret again on the Lune (has this summered??) and Spotted Redshank on the EM Pool. Lune water level even higher c/f Sand Martin 2nd brood survival. At least four of the late-nesting Pied Flycatcher all involved dead young and/or prematurely (presumed predated) disappearing young