Wednesday, 21 November 2007

No Great Northern Diver, but plenty of other birds!

First winter male Snow Bunting. Wing length 113mm, weight 36g. Thanks to Keith Kellet for this photo.
Heysham Obs
SD36V excelled itself today with yet another new species - a male Snow Bunting which was later fortuitously trapped and ringed as it wandered into the Twite ringing site. This bird provided yet another behavioural first. It was treated like a Wryneck i.e. a mammalian predator, or just something odd, by the local Wren and Robin - both of which 'mobbed' it from a respectable distance of about 2 metres for at least 20 minutes as it shuffled along. I have not seen birds react to a Snow Bunting in this manner before. Photos should be available soon.

Just to put this morning in perspective, a lunchtime prowl round the same North wall/Ocean Edge/Red Nab/Outfalls circuit just a few days ago produced nothing worthy of log entry - not even a Med!

North harbour wall/sea
No sign of the Great Northern Diver on a 'millpond' but:
Purple Sandpiper: Two together on the seawall which had flown in from the direction of the heliport
Med. Gull: Czech-ringed adult and 2nd W patrolling the north wall

North harbour mound area
Following two Meadow Pipit and a Reed Bunting in SD66I whilst emptying the moth trap (27 December Moth!), indicating late passage, there was an influx of 6 additional Meadow Pipit grounded on the north wall, with three further birds arriving mid-morning. Norfolk also apparently experienced a late Meadow Pipit passage this morning. With these birds was the abovementioned Snow Bunting, a flock of c34 Twite and 3 Goldfinch. All except the Snow Bunting moved on mid-morning and unfortunately none of the Twite were trapped (by us) and all 11, where the legs were clearly seen, were unringed birds (all SD36V).

Ocean Edge foreshore
Twite: The flock of 34 weas relocated here as a separate entity to the established finch flock on the saltmarsh. This appeared to consist of c40 birds, equally split between Twite and Linnet i.e. a lot more Twite than in recent days.
Little Egret: they ARE rare here and it was good to see one feeding in the saltmarsh channel and not flying off when disturbed (SD45E)

TWO Purple Sandpiper by the Stone Jetty - definitely different birds to those at Heysham - one has very uniform lesser and median coverts.