Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Afternoon dropping tide produces the goods

Heysham Obs
In contrast to the last few weeks, the only conscious passerine observation involved a few wind-blown Pied Wagtail. Seabirds were the order of the day and we're long enough in the tooth to know not to bother with spray-filled high tide periods but to check for Leach's Petrels on the dropping tide. It worked, with a close Grey Phalarope as a significant bonus

Ocean Edge/Red Nab
No obvious (!) sign of Brents
No sign Little Stint
Little Gull - Ad & 2nd W outfalls

North wall seabirds
Grey Phalarope - one "ambled" past very close inshore at 1527 but was lost below the seawall and couldnt be relocated in conditions which were difficult when facing into the wind . It could easily be along the outfalls as it didnt appear to remain in the harbour mouth area. Head and wing patterns clearly seen and the mantle was uniform pale grey (two observers). A combination of the features noted by both observers suggested a 1st W.
Leach's Petrel - singles flew out, all at about 300-350m, at 1340, 1447, 1458, 1524 and 1705 (the period 1600-1700 was not covered as far as we know). The first two and fourth bird were definitely juveniles, the other two less certainly so.
Manx Shearwater - one out, then back in ahead of a squall at 1540
Fulmar - one distant
Skua spp. - one chunky-looking dark bird, probably a juv Pomarine, out at about 1115hrs. One wheeling in very rapidly and distantly at 1440 looked more like a juvenile Arctic.
Little Gull - 3 adults out together
Shelduck - 38 out
Pintail - 7 out
Red-throated Diver - one out - first of autumn
Arctic Tern - juvenile out close inshore late pm after a distant 'commic' had headed in late morning

Shag - 6+ on wooden jetty, but too windy to check properly
Med Gull - 2 adults, one 2nd W and one 1st W
Guillemot - 1st W

Late record : Honey Buzzard south over the Salter Fell track at c1330hrs Sunday 21st Sept.