Friday, 2 May 2008

Large falcon entertainment

Heysham Obs
Not sure whether it was worth getting up to be faced with serious identification problem at about 3 miles range = a pale headed 'thing' in a heathaze flapping and gliding low over the water. Fortunately is was heading for the wooden jetty, as many 'cross the bay' birds do and it was possible to "narrow" it down to something which looked like a Saker. Any conversation with falconers, especially the more knowledgeable ones involved with 'bird scaring' activities (and the best birds to use for this), will soon indicate that unless you have a white Gyr on a remote Irish/Scottish headland, large falcons are impossible to identify with absolute certainty in the field. This is based on an assumption that they are of captive origin and therefore subject to all sorts of permutations re-parent history, perhaps involving artificial insemination

North harbour wall 0650-0750
Saker or hybrid 'in-off' 0710!
LM & DM Arctic Skua
in at 0720 - they were starting to climb as they passed Heysham.
Manx Shearwater - 3 together out
Sandwich Tern - 6 blogging
Linnet - 6 NE
White Wagtail - 2 NE
No hirundines or Arctic Terns c/f last year!

Black Guillemot - in residence around the wooden jetty, harrassed by 1st summer Herring Gulls
Purple Sandpiper - one still with 155 Turnstone on the wooden jetty

Pratincole spp. frequenting wader scrapes along the Roeburndale West road, but flushed as a result of necessary farm work and not seen since midday. This was well-described by two people who are familiar with the usual birds and had no prior knoeledge that anything like a pratincole existed. The initial views were in flight and it was described as a big 'black and white' swift with a forked tail but it was later seen at the water's edge with Lapwing. One of the observers may have seen the underwing colour but I havent spoken to them. Black Tern Lilians Hide. Female Velvet Scoter on the sea at JBP at least 0820 but no sign at 0915. Razorbill on rocks off the Stone Jetty & fsp Spotted Redshank on the Strathmore groyne.