Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Woodpigeon mystery and return of the Meds

Heysham Obs
The main feature of the day only fringed Heysham and this involved a massive northerly movement of Woodpigeons. The late posting was due to waiting (in vain) for further info. on the movement over this area. Perhaps the most interesting reply on the national vis mig group was from Clive Mackay:

"Reverse" movement of Wood Pigeons is on-going here in Angus. They ALL went SW til 30 Oct, and since 1 Nov have ALL been going NE! The same pattern was observed last year, but the switch over date was much later (16th November). This return movement seems to be a feature of WP autumn movements, e.g.. also recorded by Keith Clarkson in Sheffield over many years. It's possible that depending on the geography of a particular site that movement will only be picked up in one direction. e.g. Keith mostly records S movement, whereas here I get more or less equal numbers SW and then NE. Does the geography of the Morecambe site favour picking up N movement or movement in both directions?

Answer: this is the first time any major northerly movements have been observed in this area - or can you contradict this John from any Crag Bank observations?
The only N/NE movement of woodpigeon I have had from Crag Bank was a total of 471 on 5 dates in spring 2006 ie none in autumn, (see L&DBWS Annual Report).

Vis mig by the office to about 1015hrs
Woodpigeon: Flocks of 220, 60 and 200 high and purposefully to the north. These were rather distant and over the golf course and therefore there was no coastal movement as such. It also means that some, possibly loads, could have been missed c/f c3,000 high to the north over north Morecambe and significant numbers, which would not have included these birds, over NE Torrisholme
Starling - 8 S

Ocean Edge
House Sparrow - Pair by Ocean Edge entrance - most unexpected
Linnet - c60 on the football field and surrounds

North harbour wall
Med Gull: FOUR. The 1st W with a poorly defined mask put in a reppearance, sitting on the fence with the others as though it hadnt been away. Also a returnee was one of the 2nd W birds along with the usual 2nd W and Czech-ringed adult. Combination of calm weather and loads of anglers?

Single Mottled Umber and Feathered Thorn graced the trap

The Great White Egret is back and roosted on the island at the northern end of Leighton Moss! An adult Purple Sandpiper was new in at the Morecambe stone jetty and the Belgian-ringed Med Gull (usually favouring to the north of here) was seen. 16 Whooper Swan on the Melling field but no sign of any geese