Monday, 15 October 2007

Excellent vis, one decent landbird!

Heysham Obs
Unfortunately no vis coverage until 0945! This was a pity as a lot of visible migrants were moving ahead of the afternoon weather front, almost exclusively on a NE to SW heading. Sunderland was covered from 0900 and undoubtedly included some of the birds over Heysham. In addition, '200+ medium/large finches', almost certainly a mixture of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and perhaps Brambling headed SW over the office from dawn to 0945.

Vis from the office 0945-1200hrs (SW unless stated)
Chaffinch - 366
Redwing - 36
Song Thrush - 5
Starling - 488
Swallow - 3
Goldfinch - 5
Brambling - 4
Greenfinch - 17
Linnet - 1 SE
Skylark - 14 SE
Redpoll spp - 2 SE
Mistle Thrush - 2
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 2
House Martin - 7
Grey Wagtail - 1
Blackbird - 2
alba Wagtail - 6 SE
Sparrowhawk - male high to the SE (in-off?)
Meadow Pipit - 3 SE
Siskin - 26

Vis nearby Sunderland west shore 0900-1100 for comparison
Siskin - 72
Skylark - 89
Brambling - 1
Chaffinch - 110
Greenfinch - 84
Redpoll - 1
Reed Bunting - 1
Starling - 370
Pink-footed Goose 18

Thanks Garry - all heading in a southerly direction

Unless you are in the elite group with photographic (and the aural equivalent) memory, birding has a habit of making you eat humble pie. The vis was going well - a cloudy morning, no crackling pylons and all calls clear & identifiable - we really do know our stuff! Then, at 1105, a bird dropped out of the sky in silhouette and landed "in" the isolated bush near the office [didnt think anything of it at the time & assumed Chafficnh]. Then a series of calls - distant Kingfisher on the Obs Tower pond - no, demented Dunnock - no, too high and staccato for a late Redstart. Investigation produced an extremely agrophobic female/imm Black Redstart. Why did we not recognise the contact call of a 'familiar enough' migrant! It spent as much of the next two hours (1105-1305) in sallies from the lower branches of the isolated willow as on the more traditional fences. It also kept disappearing and certainly did not seem to favour continuous presence in open ground. Unfortunately only a dreadful mobile 'happy slap' available and the bird suddenly disappeared just after 1300hrs.

Other grounded birds included about 9 Goldcrest and single figures of thrush species. What was probably a Treecreeper was heard briefly near the Nature Park (the bird caught the other day?)

North wall
At least one 2nd W and the usual Czech-ringed adult Med Gulls
Thanks very much for this, Sean
Great White Egret on the EM Pool 'flood' along with single Curlew Sandpiper.