Saturday, 15 March 2008

Meadow Pipits and earliest ever Sand Martin

Heysham Obs
This was a strange day with the word 'variable' applying to density of cloud cover, visibility and also the light winds. Later in the afternoon a north-easterly kicked off. The Meadow Pipit data was cobbled together from five sources and we are grateful to visiting birders for some of this

Visible migration
Meadow Pipit - About 60 per hour early morning, falling to 40 per hour 1000-1100, then the movement appeared to have ceased for the day. However 1330-1430 saw c 75 northbound birds and the following hour saw 30 heading north, then the wind kicked in and the movement appeared to stop. Presumably this oscillation was to do with the variable cloud density to the south? c200 seen but some of the early morning missed.
Sand Martin - one through early afternoon - the earliest record of what is not a common migrant here
Pied Wagtail - c20 north 0900-1030, none later
Greenfinch - one north at the NHW, therefore definitely a migrant
Goldfinch - one as above species

Grounded migrants
A Song Thrush was on the NHW mound and two Robins were seen there in 'migrant mode' - one flew 'in-off' and landed on a skeer! A lunchtime circuit of the reserve suggested that Goldcrests were not a feature today = none. Female Stonechat on the PS non-operational land.

Stage 2 outfall
1st W Little Gull surprisingly elusive & 2 Ad Kittiwake

Wooden jetty
Two Purple Sandpiper on rocks below wooden jetty (per Manchester coach party - thanks)

Other north harbour wall records
2nd S Med Gull on skeer by NHW mid-morning, then flew south towards incoming ferry & no sign since
Twite - 10 on the nyger seed. Two Twite also overflew Red Nab.

Middleton IE
Two Greylag landed mid-morning (feral origin - not common here). 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal and a singing Skylark - not common in the recording area these days, but, perhaps surprisingly, no migrant Stonechat

PS non-operational land
Female Stonechat

Moth trap
Just one Clouded Drab [c/p 103 of 14 (& one escaped micro) species at Millhouses!]

Barnacle Goose & Greenshank Aldcliffe and three Cranes reported over Lancaster heading west at 0745hrs. Avocet possibly up to 5 on the Allen/EM Pools and a small increase in Sand Martin at Leighton Moss (but still single figures) [also migrant SM through Hest Bank early morning]. NNEW Chough as yet. Pale-bellied Brent Goose on the shoreline just north of the Sunny Slopes on the incoming afternoon tide [34 dogs on the beach between Sunny Slopes and Stone Jetty]