Sunday, 19 September 2010

Seawatching bonus

Heysham Obs
A lie-in, and a tortuous journey from High Tatham in a queue behind a driver treating every small puddle as collision course with Noah's Ark, saw an arrival at Heysham in what looked like increasingly promising conditions for a seabird or two.  The zilch visibility inland had discouraged an earlier visit.  Therefore a right turn was made down to the north harbour wall at 1045 (instead of getting on with work which needed doing)and immediately a scan halfway along saw a Leach's Petrel battling it out.  This stage of the (dropping) tide is often the best for observing any coming out of the bay

North harbour wall:  c0730-1000, 1045-1205 (watched IOM ferry into port), c1305-1430, 1530-1555, 1745-1830, plus an unknown length of time for just one bird early morning
Leach's Petrel - 22-24 in rather intermittent seawatching - four 0730-1000hrs, three in view at once 1045-1050, one (first seen) at 1100 which sat on the sea for a short time, one (first seen) at 1115, a distant one at 1131, then five seen by Gareth Morgan et al as the neap tide left plenty of water still off the north wall 1305-1410 (last seen about 1350hrs), two between 1530 and 1555 (left 1600hrs), then 4, probably 6 between 1745 and 1830 (birds kept disappearing into the mist and backtracks difficult to rule out).   All flying out of the bay at or just inside the yellow buoy range apart from the 1131 one which was at a distance which was not visible for most of the seawatch (so others could have been in the murk)
Red-throated Diver - one fsp seen
Razorbill - 1CY on the sea
Pink-footed Goose - 22(f) SW
Guillemot - one in the harbour mouth
Gannet - an imm in the mist was the only obvious seabird behind the IOM ferry but visibility very bad then
Med Gull - 1CY patrolling the north wall, adult joined the ferry in the harbour
Wheatear - 4

Kittiwake - juv was the only bird thereon of remote interest