Thursday, 24 April 2008

Velvet Scoter and backtracking Pinkfeet

Heysham Obs
A new dawn, a different type of front to yesterday (cold as opposed to warm occlusion) and a different birding scenario. Today was about attritional seawatching with occasional highlights keeping people going. The best period was the first post- frontal 'window' at 0810-0815 just prior to the only post-frontal heavy shower. Therefore, the heavy showers given on some forecasts for the high tide period did not materialise and the quality and quantity of seabirds, as a result, did not match the observer effort. Evidence from nearby suggests that both vis and grounded migrants were missed during the 1.5 hours of dry daylight prior to the sudden arrival of the morning weather front!

North harbour wall 0750-1600, excluding 1000-1045
Velvet Scoter - Male flew out at 0814hrs
Arctic Skua - Dark morphs in at 0811hrs and 1205hrs
Pink-footed Goose - 161 in the short weather window at 0815 could be excused heading SE but why did four other flocks of 6+7+109+38 also head SE during clear sunny weather later on?
Arctic Tern - 17+2+1+1 in, all before 1000hrs, then 112 in, then back out again from 1400hrs
Sandwich Tern - 16 out, 3 in, up to 5 'blogging', all after 1045hrs
Common Scoter - 8+1 out
Guillemot - 11+ seen, mainly over the tide, surprisingly no Razorbill
Red-throated Diver - 2 in
Gannet - 1 distantly in
Cormorant - high-flying flocks of 4+3 in
Kittiwake - Ad & 1st S blogging during the HT period
Whimbrel - 1

Meadow Pipit - 7 NE
Tree Pipit - 1 NE
Swallow - 8 NE
alba Wagtail - 1 NE
White Wagtail - 2NE
Linnet - 15 NE & 4 grounded by the nyger seed feeder

Wooden jetty area
Black Guillemot - including entering its favoured hole just to the right of where number 9 is painted
Purple Sandpiper - 2 on the wooden jetty

No Wheatear seen during a trawl of the usual areas

One Grey Seal & one Harbour Porpoise

Shoulder Stripe & Double-striped Pug

Nothing at all of any interest up to 1840hrs - JBP seawatching very poor with just three RT Diver of note - again suffered because of the lack of any squalls or even rain showers c/f further north e.g 9 Poms at Bowness on Solway