Sunday, 20 April 2008

First Arctic Terns (but skuas missed?)

Heysham Obs
The problems with seawatching in spring are that birds can be moving at all stages of the tide in relation to observer availability and secondly the tide takes an 'age' to reach JBP, where the observers understandably do not bother staring at the empty mudflats at the equivalent of the 'early incoming tide time' for more outer Bay sites such as Walney, Rossall & Heysham. Hence an important part of the local seawatching jigsaw is to watch the early stages of the incoming tide from Heysham, before perhaps moving round to JBP for the high tide period. Observation of this time slot was not possible today. Here is the entry from Walney, observing birds entering Morecambe Bay during this critical time-period (not the open sea shoreline): "Despite the persistent easterly winds of the last few days, morning observations on the rising tide (0830-1030) conspired to provide variety if not quantity. Highlights were 4 dark phase Arctic Skua heading into Morecambe Bay along with 2 Little Tern, 2 Arctic Tern and a Black Guillemot resplendent in its summer plumage". More details on the excellent Walney site can be accessed via the links.

North Harbour Wall
0700-0830 (low tide) E3/4 cloudy
Arctic Tern 5
Sandwich Tern 22
Red-breasted Merganser 6
Gannet 1
Meadow Pipit 18

Skerton Weir - 7 House Martin, 2 Swallows
Halton Mills - 2 Common Sandpiper
JBP - Whimbrel, RT Diver, Sandwich Terns [late morning onwards]
Teal Bay - 2 Spotted Redshank
Pilling Marsh - Ross's, Bean and Barnacle (that well known firm of goose solicitors)
Sunderland Point - 3 Whimbrel
Aldcliffe - Green Sandpiper
Dallam Park - 50 Swallow, 36 Sand Martin, 2 Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler