Sunday, 24 August 2008

Routine sightings in poor visibility

Heysham Obs
The collection of gulls on Red Nab on the late afternoon tide were really difficult to go through due to heat haze, state of moult, sleeping position and unfavourable sunlight - there could have been more than 2 Meds, for example

Cumulative total from Ocean Edge foreshore/outfalls and Red Nab
Little Gull - 2 x 2nd W, 1 x Ad W
Med Gull - 2 apparent adults - one the regular small bird
Common Tern - juv
Sandwich Tern - one
Arctic Tern - adult - rather surprising record

HNReserve dipping pond
Kingfisher mid-afternoon

Middleton IE
Now two Tufted Duck but no sign of yesterdays Aythya, perhaps a hybrid involoving Pochard

Yet again too windy for the census at Middleton but this did include a single Wall Brown and a late 4-spotted Chaser. 3 male Emperor and an ovipositing Migrant Hawker were also observed. A walk round the reserve by Colin mid afternoon saw: 27 Meadow Brown, 2 Gatekeeper, 5 Common Blue, 2 Small Copper, 4 Peacock, 1 Brimstone, 3 Large White, 1 Small White, 9 Speckled Wood, 3 Red Admiral, just one Migrant Hawker, 2 Brown Hawker, female Common Hawker and c100 Common Darter (but no Ruddy or Black seen)

A poor catch included Agriphila latistria and a probable Acleris variegana but no migrants

Med Gull - four from Glasson seawall - 3 Ad-types and a 2nd W. 3CY Yellow-legged Gull but no sign of adult. Tree Pipit south over High Tatham at 0935 - this record assisted by yesterdays departure of the extremely noisy nest-bound juvenile House Martins!

A sprinkling of migrants

Heysham Obs
Wasted time watching flocks of giant poodles and other inbred 'pedigree' mutts being misidentified (on two occasions) as the noticeably absent Audouin's Gull. I suspect someone was taking the micky and taking great delight in watching ornithological stampedes with scopes flailing in all directions. It only takes one loud incomprehensible shout (in this case two)! The grotty Lincolnshire coast throws into sharp perspective the recent improvements at Morecambe - it is now a relatively high class resort with Colin Crompton's bus shelter morgues long gone.

Prior to that a bit of coverage:
Middleton IE
Whitethroat: Whilst scanning the skies for hirundines a passerine was picked up about twice the height of an electricity pylon. It descended in four "leaf-falling" stages and landed on a bramble bush revealing itself as a Whitethroat. After leaping about for 5 seconds, it flew inland. This was preceded by two together moving rapidly inland at low level
Swift: 1+3 south
Swallow: c60 south, including loose flock of 40
Grey Wagtail: 2 south
Kingfisher: 1
Grasshopper Warbler: two recently fledged young were ringed - a surprise
Little Grebe: 4 very small young - late broods are regular here
The only phyllosc was a single Chiffchaff (c/f Willow Warblers reported elsewhere)

Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Gem in Morecambe in the last 24 hours. Add the Cosmopolitan and this represents three rare migrant moths in a very small area. I wonder if the very severe thunderstorm the evening before the Cosmopolitan was trapped was responsible for "downing" these high-flying migrants in a very localised area? There has been no general influx of scarce migrants anywhere near this latitude to relate these observations to. The first Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year was in the hut trap

Two Yellow Wagtail at Bank End. Moulting Little Tern reported Morecambe Stone Jetty