Friday, 8 May 2009

Slack tedium punctuated by quality

Heysham Obs
A rather strange morning with lengthy periods of tedium due to the complete lack of any numbers of common seabirds after the first hour or so. However, there were quite a number of skuas seen by various observers. The most interesting sighting involved a 'sky scan' during a rather belated WEBS at about 1340hrs which revealed 31 'dots' in two groups "above" the north harbour wall. I assumed they were hirundines, but they then circled down and revealed themselves as Arctic Terns, therefore originally higher than I thought they were! They fed in a line off Stage one outfall before flying in and across the bay towards Ulverston. The first high-flying Arctic Terns seen in strong westerlies.

North harbour wall early morning to 0930
Pomarine Skua - close light morph ad started to climb into the sky as it flew NE at 0813hrs. This was a full-tailed individual. At 1015hrs a light morph was seen at JB Point which had an "almost fully grown tail". This was multi-observed at very close range and seen again intermittently until about 1215hrs - presumably just the one bird. At 1130 a light morph adult flew out of the bay past Heysham. Therefore at least two, probably three birds involved with the early morning Heysham sighting of a bird starting to climb when conditions were clear probably different from the other two.
Skua spp - one very distant in at 0800 - prob dark Arctic
Arctic Skua - one rapidly in flying quite high at 0640 (no morph details), light morph in hugging the sea at 0855 as the cloud cover increased, dark morph rapidly in about 1100hrs [JBP data suggests this bird was accompanied by 2 others as they had three approaching from Heysham direction at 1107hrs- this could easily have been the case as the bird(s) was often invisible due to waves], 2 dark morph in at 1150hrs, light morph on the sea, then in at 1330hrs [3 seen heading for Heysham, as viewed from Knott End, at 1156hrs, do not seem to have been picked up]
Manx Shearwater - 1
Gannet - 29 out early on, then just another 3 logged
Fulmar - 4, including 3 together
Whimbrel - 5 out, 4 on Red Nab
Red-throated Diver - one circling high into the sky early morning
Kittiwake - 2 ad in, 2CY blogging
Common Scoter - 1
Sandwich Tern - 3
Arctic Tern - 31 (see intro)
Guillemot - one floating in
Dunlin - 78 out

Two Arctic Skua resting on the JBPoint groyne flew out to sea at 0925hrs. Pom Skua JBP (see above). Little Tern just to the north of Morecambe Stone Jetty at lunchtime